Illumina ($ILMN) has tasked FlowJo with developing data analysis software to support its expansion into high-throughput sequencing of single cells. The plan is for FlowJo to create software that integrates with Illumina’s Single Cell RNA BaseSpace app and complements the sequencing platform it is working on with Bio-Rad Laboratories ($BIO).
FlowJo has landed the deal on the strength of its track record of developing software for single-cell flow analysis. Illumina wants FlowJo, which set up shop 19 years ago to advance technology from Stanford University, to create software for secondary and tertiary analysis, plus data visualization. While the software will be new, Illumina VP Rob Brainin thinks FlowJo’s experience and capabilities will provide it with a good starting point.
“FlowJo is recognized for delivering reliable, high-quality and easy-to-use software solutions that allow cell biologists to study phenotype in individual cells by flow cytometry,” Brainin said in a statement. “We look forward to enabling our customers to bring these trusted FlowJo analytical capabilities to their next-generation sequencing data.”
The partners expect the software to be available in the first quarter of 2017, at which time they will start comarketing it. That timeline fits with the development of the single-cell platform Illumina is working on with Bio-Rad. When Illumina unveiled the Bio-Rad collaboration in January, it set a target of late 2016, early 2017 for the introduction of the platform.
At that time, Illumina planned to conduct analysis of data generated by the platform via BaseSpace, its cloud-based hub. The FlowJo deal builds out this strategy by pairing the existing single-cell RNA app in BaseSpace with the tailored, as-yet-undeveloped software.
Collectively, the Bio-Rad and FlowJo agreements represent a push by Illumina to extend its sequencing empire into single cells. The Bio-Rad deal, the centerpiece of the initiative, pairs Illumina's sequencing and library prep capabilities with its partner’s droplet technology.
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