BioDatomics pitches open-source, freemium bioinformatics package

Biodatomics founders at ASHG. Left to right: Executive Chairman Anthony Millin; co-founder and CEO Maxim Mikheev; Chief Marketing Officer Alan Taffel--Courtesy of Biodatomics

Open-source software developers have long stood on the shoulders of giants, incorporating existing tools where possible so they can focus resources on improving other areas. And with the proliferation of open-source genomics programs, Biodatomics is betting on the model working for bioinformatics.

BioDatomics recently showed off its open-source suite of next-generation sequencing (NGS) data analysis software and services at the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) and this week spoke to Bio-IT World about its approach. The suite is composed of 400 open-source tools--such as Bowtie and the Broad Institute's Genome Analysis Toolkit (GATK)--which BioDatomics has packaged together as BioDT. Instead of developing its own tool for analyzing next-generation resequencing data, BioDatomics is simply using GATK, freeing up time and resources to work on integrating the open-source programs.

The team created a drag-and-drop interface that allows users to line up tools and have the output from one flow into the next. It is through this integration and visualized results that BioDatomics hopes to convince researchers that--while all the tools are freely available individually--it is worth using BioDT. Anyone can download BioDT for free, but a paid-for version is available for those who need more features and security. The paid-for BioDT Pro runs analyses faster than the free version and allows users to install the tool on a private cloud behind a firewall.

For biopharma, the commercial sensitivity of its research makes BioDT Pro the obvious choice, and BioDatomics thinks the success of other open-source software vendors shows the "freemium model" can work. "Linux is available for free to anybody. And yet Red Hat is a billion-dollar company, so there are plenty of people who are interested in an enterprise-grade, fully-supported, fully-featured version of the software. Those people are willing to pay for it, and we have a product for them," BioDatomics' chief marketing officer Alan Taffel said.

- read the Bio-IT World article

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