DNAnexus teams up with FDA for Precision Medicine cloud-based genomics platform

DNAnexus has not wasted any time expanding the reach for its cloud-based data platform, roping in funds from the likes of Google ($GOOG) and striking major deals to further its data hub ambitions. In its latest win, the company inked a deal with the FDA to create the agency's new cloud-based genomics platform under President Obama's Precision Medicine initiative.

The agency awarded DNAnexus a research and development contract to build out precisionFDA, a system that could improve regulation for next-generation sequencing (NGS) tests. As part of the Precision Medicine initiative, the FDA is tasked with developing a new method of evaluating NGS diagnostics--and the agency thinks its precisionFDA fits the bill. The platform will be designed as a cloud-based tool that allows scientists and NGS test developers to share results and cross-check their tests against crowdsourced data, the FDA said in a blog post. Information can be kept private or shared with the agency, the public or select community members, providing a more flexible model for test evaluation.

"We believe precisionFDA will help us advance the science around the accuracy and reproducibility of NGS-based tests, and in doing so, will advance consumer safety," the agency said.

DNAnexus will provide its data gathering know-how for the platform, which is expected to be used by everyone from NGS-based test providers to patient advocacy groups, the company said in a statement. The FDA is planning to unveil precisionFDA in a beta release in December.

DNAnexus CEO Richard Daly

"DNAnexus is proud to be delivering precisionFDA and creating a community around open-source genomic analysis pipelines, reference data, and analytical processing resources," CEO Richard Daly said in a statement. "The FDA has taken a leadership position in making President Obama's Precision Medicine initiative a reality, and the DNAnexus platform will enable the managing and sharing of genomic data at an unprecedented level."

Meanwhile, DNAnexus is working hard to increase its industry footprint. The company earlier this year scored $15 million from WuXi PharmaTech ($WX) in a Series D round to pair its technology with WuXi's NextCODE genomics platform. The deal helps DNAnexus grab a bigger piece of the Chinese market, which is estimated to hold 20% of the world's sequencing capacity.

- read DNAnexus' statement
- here's the FDA blog post