Genomics platform builder
Name: Andreas Sundquist
Title: Co-founder and CEO
Who has the dominant cloud-based platform on which genomics applications are built? Right now, nobody really wears that title belt. Not like Mark Zuckerberg wears one in the social web realm, or Steve Jobs did in the world of mobile apps, among other things. But Andreas Sundquist, an unassuming MIT graduate, has his eyes set on establishing his company DNAnexus as the go-to cloud platform for DNA data. Call it the App Store for genomics jocks.
Sundquist's vision is a work in progress, and there are several companies that could contend with his startup in becoming the cloud for genomics, so this contest is way too early to call. However, Sundquist's bid to pull ahead in this race got a big endorsement from Google Ventures late last year when the company co-led DNAnexus' $15 million Series B round. And Sundquist no doubt impressed folks at Google ($GOOG) when his company spearheaded a recent project with the web giant to build and release a mirror of the National Institute of Health's Sequence Read Archive dataset, the world's biggest public repository of next-gen sequencing data.
Does the world need a cloud-based platform for genomics data? Well, consider that the lightning speed of innovation in DNA sequencing has made the technology accessible to just about any lab with a credit card. Then pile on the potential for sequencing to become part of routine diagnostics for many different diseases. In sum you've got an incredible amount of DNA data, and lots of people who would want to view or analyze the info without needing their own supercomputer and data warehouse to make it happen.
The way Sundquist sees it, these and other converging factors point to a major market opportunity for DNAnexus, which is already providing DNA analysis software and on-demand storage built on the Amazon Web Services cloud.
"I actually think that the bioinformatics space is potentially as big as some of the big opportunities we've seen in the past," Sundquist told FierceBiotech IT in a recent interview in San Francisco. "This is something that in three years is going to affect millions of people. In 10 years, I'd be surprised if every single person in the developed world didn't have their genome sequenced."