By Bio-IT World Staff
October 20, 2011 | Illumina has led an $8 million funding round in GenoLogics, the maker of LIMS (Laboratory Information Management System) software designed for next-generation genomics labs announced today.
The financing will be used to accelerate GenoLogics’ product development to support future clinical applications and new desktop sequencing systems, and to expand sales and marketing functions. Illumina Senior Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer Tristan Orpin will also be joining GenoLogics’ board of directors.
“This strategic investment in GenoLogics will benefit our mutual sequencing customers,” said Orpin in a press release. “We value the unique data management capabilities GenoLogics brings to our customers and the industry.”
The investment signals a further deepening of the Illumina-GenoLogics relationship. In early 2010, Illumina chose GenoLogics as its preferred LIMS provider and in March of this year, Illumina and GenoLogics signed a worldwide co-selling agreement for the GenoLogics LIMS.
“We’ve worked hard… to understand how we can better integrate our product with [Illumina’s] instrumentation and analysis software,” Michael Ball, CEO of the Canadian company told Bio•IT World in March (see, GenoLogics Eyes Next-Gen LIMS Market).
“Illumina decided that being able to sell our solution as part of an overall solution to the lab is part of a winning strategy. This Illumina relationship will take us to another level. It’s great to have market leaders embracing you.”
In September, GenoLogics released the GenoLogics LIMS preconfigured package for Illumina NGS. The package allows labs to move into production more quickly by incorporating de facto standards and best practices for NGS implementations.
LIMS for NGS
The GenoLogics LIMS delivers end-to-end management of genomics laboratory samples, tests and results.
“The biggest challenge most [genomics] labs are having is managing the upfront workflow, the wet lab, as well as post-sequence step,” said Ball. “What do you do with all the data? How do you index masses of samples and provide the necessary traceability?”
GenoLogics began developing its LIMS in 2003 and early customers were in proteomics space. The company fine-tuned the product for next-generation sequencing in 2009.
“There’re only a few [LIMS] players in the NGS space,” Ball told Bio-IT World. Because of the variability and complexity of the wet lab component, with rapidly shifting protocols, there is a premium on “a system that gives you data and sample traceability but also the flexibility to change the protocol without waiting weeks for the process to be reprogrammed.”
Most life science LIMS are very process-oriented, Ball said, tailored for multi-step protocols and workflows that seldom change. The GenoLogics LIMS is “configurable by the lab,” he said, but it also offers traceability, so users know what has potentially been changed and can track where a given sample came from.