|Narges Bani Asadi|
Focus: DNA sequencing data analysis
Funding: Undisclosed angels
Headquarters: Redwood City, CA
CEO: Narges Bani Asadi
Several years ago, the science press was preoccupied with the race to drive down the cost of whole-genome sequencing to $1,000, thinking that that would be the price tag at which the technology would go mainstream. Today sequencing costs several thousand dollars per genome, getting close to $1,000. But it turns out that the expense of interpreting the data from sequencing machines can come in at many times the cost of sequencing, with scientists scrambling to make sense of the plethora of decoded DNA data.
Now a pack of genomics contenders have embarked on a quest to boost the efficiency of analyzing the genome, and Bina Technologies has emerged publicly this year to tout its hybrid approach to slicing and dicing the data. Inspired by her project with cancer researchers at Stanford University, Narges Bani Asadi started Bina and won support from angel backers to get the nascent operation off the ground. Now the company has set out to recruit sequencing operations to give its unique approach a try.
The Silicon Valley startup has built a sequencing-data analysis offering around supercomputing hardware known as the Bina Box. The box performs the variant analysis and compression of data from sequencing machines, quickly crunching the data from a sequenced genome in a matter of hours rather than days. The data are then sent to Bina's cloud, where they can be further probed and stored, according to a GigaOM article. Bina differs from other analysis platforms such as DNAnexus that have focused on software, believing that its hardware offers the advantage of fine-tuning the processors, kernels and algorithms that factor into the dissection of sequencing data.
In an interview in April in Boston, Bani Asadi said the cost of interpreting data from a whole genome could run $30,000. That sizable sum puts the cost of understanding genomic data into perspective, and indicates that after realizing the dream of the $1,000 genome, the genomics field faces the harsh reality of translating the mountain of data into practical insights in healthcare and other fields. If companies buy into Bina's hybrid approach to genome analysis, the startup has a bright future.