Sequoia-backed startup enters race to make sense of the genome

Silicon Valley Biosystems has emerged from top-secret status this week with bold plans to provide doctors with high-quality reports on their patients' genomes, challenging a growing crowd of software companies with similar goals, Bio-IT World's veteran editor Kevin Davies reported.

Sequoia Capital, the legendary venture firm, is backing the Silicon Valley startup--dubbed SVBio for short--in a bet that the payoff in DNA sequencing resides in interpreting genomic data for use in the clinic, SVBio Founder Dietrich Stephan told Davies. And it's notable to see one of the VC firms that made wildly successful investments in Google ($GOOG) and LinkedIn ($LNKD) roll the dice in the rapidly evolving genomics game. 

Nowadays, a flock of companies are gambling on the future of DNA sequencing and analysis heading to hospitals and doctors' offices, becoming invaluable to personalizing treatments based on patients' genes. The market potential is in the billions. As Davies reports, some of the tech companies chasing this growing opportunity include Cambridge, MA-based Knome, Scripps spinoff Cypher Genomics, Ingenuity, and a startup out of Stanford University called Personalis.

Clinical genomics remains in the cradle and companies such as SVBio in their infancy. Yet SVBio's Stephan sounds confident that his group has the smarts and business acumen to grow the young operation into a successful company.

"We've put together a SWAT team of ten really smart people, including computational biology and genomics, to build out a platform for generating next-gen data," he told Davies. He also said that the endgame is "creating a large and sustainable business."

- get more in Bio-IT World's article