By Allison Proffitt
February 10, 2014
| At the end of January, Bina Technologies
announced an expanded Scientific Advisory Board including three new clinical genomicists and a bioinformatician. The additions herald an increased interest in clinical genomics space.
Bina’s product is an integrated analysis tool for genomic processing that promises extremely fast results. The first product was the Bina Box for whole genome analysis; last August the company added whole exome analysis and a Bina-On-Demand
model for smaller groups.
The newest Scientific Advisory Board members include clinical genomicists Dr. Robert Green (Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School), Dr. Shashikant Kulkarni (Washington University School of Medicine), Dr. Rong Chen (Icahn Institute of Genetics and Multiscale Biology), and bioinformaticist Dr. Mark Gerstein (Yale University).
Whereas previous applications have been focused on the research space, the SAB additions suggest a shift in focus.
“We are thinking about how this should be validated in a clinical setting,” explained Bina’s founder and CEO, Narges Bani Asadi. “We, as well as many other players in the field, are thinking about how to make the analysis of genomes reliable and robust enough that we can use it in a clinical setting.”
Asadi said that Bina began by looking for “visionaries in the industry” before settling on, “four of them specifically that are thinking about the exact same questions in their institutes.” The new SAB members have been testing Bina products and giving the company feedback for some time before deciding to officially join the company’s Scientific Advisory Board and help with product development, Asadi said.
The product features being tested now, she said, are more application-specific.
Asadi said that many Bina users are in translational medicine labs at pharma or biotech companies rather than more traditional academic settings. “It’s very exciting because you get the insight from the clinic and the patient data besides the genomic information.”
In addition to the SAB, Bina is also growing its executive team with two new hires. Janet Lankard has been hired as VP of Sales, and Gianfranco de Feo, Ph.D. has joined Bina as VP of Marketing.
“Bina has a wonderful team of engineers, and software developers and bioinformatics who have already built some of the best in class tools,” de Feo said. “And now we’re really focused on adapting some verticals, some application-specific areas that are really health-focused, such as cancer, which is going to be the primary area that we’re going to really concentrate on moving forward.”
Asadi said that Bina is anticipating different hardware needs in a CLIA or clinical setting than what works in a research setting. “We are actually launching a new form of our product,” she said, “it has the same functionalities but it will be simpler to use, easier to use, and more empowering to end users.” The new product, called “Bina Lite” internally for now, wouldn’t require a datacenter or major IT help to get it up and running. “You can just put it on your desktop, just plug and play, and start using workflows,” Asadi said.
“We’re seeing more and more clinical utility of the genomic information,” Asadi said. “We think we are entering 2014 in a very lively market, and we’re very excited to work with the users to take on the challenges of genomic analysis.”