CollabRx elbows into software game for gene interpretation

A new competitor has arrived in the increasingly crowded game of interpreting sequenced cancer genes. San Francisco-based CollabRx has rolled out a software-as-a-service product called Genetic Variant Annotation (GVA), promising to aid clinical and academic labs to spot irregularities in gene sequences, initially from tumor samples.

While a new product for CollabRx, the variant annotation service builds on the company's previous work in providing cancer doctors with digital content to help them devise treatment plans based on the molecular makeup of a patient's tumor. Genetic sequencing is growing as a tool in the war on cancer, and CollabRx has joined the fight with its service to interpret information from sequencing machines. Yet it's a crowded battle.

The service comes more than a year after Foundation Medicine, which is angling for an IPO, came to market with a genetic sequencing test for cancer treatment. And Gene by Gene, which operates a genetic testing service and lab, aims to expand into next-generation sequencing interpretation with its acquisition of bioinformatics upstart Arpeggi. CollabRx plans to tackle the medical informatics and interpretation of genetic sequencing tests for reference labs, hospital labs and medical research centers, the company said.

"Life Technologies, Sengenics, and OncoDNA are early adopters of CollabRx technology and content resources which form the basis of the GVA service," said Gavin Gordon, CollabRx's vice president of business development and strategic alliances, in a statement. "With this commercial launch, the company is now in a position to provide the GVA service more broadly beyond these initial customers."

The company has recently added the University of Chicago Medical Center to its roster of customers working on slicing and dicing sequencing information, though the company will have to vie for business as companies such as Knome, Personalis, Syapse and others market their new genetic or genomic interpretation services.

- here's the release  
- see GenomeWeb's article (sub. req.)