Veritas buys Curoverse to boost genomic data capabilities

Curoverse and Veritas co-founder George Church (Courtesy of Veritas)

Veritas Genetics has bought Curoverse to dial up its genome data interpretation capabilities. The takeover combines two George Church, Ph.D., cofounded startups to create a company equipped to sequence and make sense of genomes at scale.

Curoverse is the developer of an open-source platform used originally by the Personal Genome Project and, more recently, by sequencing shops including the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. Organizations deploy the platform, Arvados, on premise or in the cloud to store data and put them through multi-part pipelines. Some firms pay Curoverse to set up and run the system, enabling it to pull in sales while giving the platform away for free.  

Boston, MA-based Curoverse will continue to support its customers as an independent subsidiary of Veritas. But with Veritas flush from its $30 million series B and seeking a platform to support its projected data-crunching requirements, Curoverse is now positioned to scale up and expand the capabilities of its platform.

“At Veritas, we are building a platform to sequence, and more importantly, interpret hundreds of thousands, and eventually millions, of human genomes per year. This will only be possible by deploying AI and machine learning at scale, which requires data that is produced, stored and managed in a standardized way. Curoverse excels at this capability,” Veritas CEO Mirza Cifric said in a statement.

Veritas is currently a long way short of sequencing and interpreting millions of genomes a year. As it stands, Veritas sequences hundreds of genomes a month, Xconomy reports. But if it can lower the cost of its consumer-targeted $999 whole genome sequencing service and, perhaps more importantly, persuade people there is value in knowing their DNA, the number could increase.

The Curoverse buyout is intended to equip Veritas for this future by enabling it to build a platform that can handle millions of genomes. If things play out as Veritas hopes, people will come to it for sequencing services and then return repeatedly with interpretation requests to answer questions that come up later. Having computers handle the interpretation work will increase the profitability of the service as it scales.

Veritas is paying an undisclosed sum to acquire Curoverse.