April News From the Bio-IT World Conference and Around the Industry

April 27, 2015

April 27, 2015 | Last week's Bio-IT World Conference & Expo in Boston was home to several exciting announcements from the life sciences IT community. Here's the latest industry news:

News from the Bio-IT World Conference Floor 

Edico Genome will collaborate with Intel Corporation to develop solutions with Intel’s Xeon processors to accelerate next generation sequencing (NGS) data analysis. The resulting solution aims to enable completion of primary and secondary NGS analysis in real time. Last year, Intel and the Broad Institute partnered to optimize the genomics analysis pipeline GATK for Intel Xeon-powered servers, reducing the time it takes to analyze a whole human genome from three days to one day. Edico’s DRAGEN processor, meanwhile, dramatically reduces the time required to align sequencing reads to reference. (For more on the DRAGEN, see “Edico Genome Makes First Sale of NGS Processor.”) Press release 

WuXi NextCODE Genomics and DNAnexus have formed a strategic alliance to accelerate the use of genomics in patient care, making WuXi NextCODE’s genomic database model and clinical and research interfaces directly available on the DNAnexus cloud. Users will be able to store and interpret their sequence data and collaborate with colleagues around the world through one platform. The companies will also provide and host the same platform and capabilities in China. Press release 

SQream Technologies released GenomeStack, a platform that replaces the traditional file-based process for storing and analyzing genome sequence data. In GenomeStack, post-aligned sequencing data from multiple samples is stored in a SQL database, letting users query a large number of samples simultaneously. According to SQream, an analysis of 50 BAM files with 30 billion rows of aligned sequencing data can be completed in under a minute, while providing single-read resolution on all samples in order to review the nucleotides distribution on a specific chromosome position. Press release 

IDBS announced a technology partnership to integrate ChemAxon’s chemical sciences software into IDBS’ E-WorkBook and ActivityBase platforms. ChemAxon chemical indexing technology will be used to store all structural chemistry data and make it searchable across the IDBS platform. Press release 

Qumulo, a provider of data-aware scale-out NAS, announced that UConn Health has chosen Qumulo Core for its large scale high-performance computing datacenter, which is used for a wide range of life science research, including genomics, personalized medicine, and systems modeling. Qumulo Core builds real-time data analytics directly into storage on commodity hardware, dedicated appliances, or in virtual machines. Press release 

Cleversafe, Inc. announced that the Center for Data Intensive Science (CDIS) at the University of Chicago has selected Cleversafe’s web-scale data storage platform to house data as part of its infrastructure to support data commons and data clouds. The Cleversafe implementation will be initially focused on providing a platform and environment for cancer research, but UChicago is also working to develop data commons for others diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and diabetes. Press release 

SwiftStack, an object storage system provider, announced the release of a new book, Object Storage for Genomics, written by SwiftStack President and Chief Product Officer Joe Arnold. Press release 

DDN highlighted its work with the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. The school implemented DDN’s GRIDScaler, GS-WOS Bridge and WOS End-To-End DDN Data Management Solution. Whitepaper 

Other Industry News 

Apple announced that ResearchKit, a software framework to help researchers gather data from study participants using mobile devices, is now available to researchers and developers. The first research apps developed using ResearchKit study asthma, breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease, and have already enrolled over 60,000 iPhone users. (For one implementation, see “LifeMap Solutions Teams Up with Mount Sinai on Digital Health.”) Now, medical researchers will be able to use ResearchKit to develop their own apps, and developers can contribute new research modules to the open source framework. The initial customizable modules address participant consent, surveys, and targeted data gathering. Press release 

Intellia Therapeutics, founded to develop curative medicines using CRISPR/Cas9 for gene editing and repair, announced that Jennifer Doudna and Derrick Rossi will join the company as founding members and scientific advisors. Dr. Doudna, one of the original discoverers of CRISPR/Cas9 as a gene editing tool, continues to lead research on the CRISPR system and its applications. Dr. Rossi led the discovery of modified RNA for therapeutic applications, and has studied the use of CRISPR/Cas9 in human hematopoietic stem cells for therapeutic translation. (For more on Intellia, see “Novartis Deal Signals Big Pharma’s Entrance in CRISPR-Based Therapies.”) Press release 

Bina Technologies and AstraZeneca entered into an agreement for AstraZeneca to become the first member to join the Bina Alliance Program, centered on the Bina Genomic Management Solution (GMS). AstraZeneca will utilize the Bina GMS as an enterprise platform to support its development work across three main therapeutic areas: oncology, cardiovascular and metabolic disease, and respiratory, inflammation and autoimmunity. AstraZeneca will adopt Bina GMS globally to support enterprise genomic data analysis and management, while Bina will provide AstraZeneca with direct access to its scientific and engineering teams to further develop the Bina GMS for pharmaceutical applications. Press release 

The Swedish Cancer Institute (SCI), a Seattle-based cancer treatment center, has adopted Syapse’s Precision Medicine Platform to enhance its Personalized Medicine Program. The software platform will help clinicians integrate genomic information into patient care and contribute to cancer research. By combining gene alteration data with the clinical decision support of the Syapse platform, patients may receive tailored therapies or targeted clinical trials specific to their cancer profiles. The platform will integrate with SCI’s enterprise electronic medical record, and will include profiles of thousands of individual tumors, making it one of the largest databases of its kind with direct day-to-day impact on cancer care. Press release 

RainDance Technologies formed agreements with BioTech-Europe, Diatech Pharmacogenetics srl, Labgene Scientific, and Neo-Science & Group, enabling these companies to distribute RainDance products in Central and Eastern Europe, Italy, Switzerland, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. RainDance Technologies’ product portfolio includes digital PCR and NGS enrichment with isolation of molecules from plasma, tissue, and FFPE samples. Press release 

New Products 

BaseHealth announced a new integrated enterprise offering for health organizations. BaseHealth’s technology combines genomic insights and a wide variety of health data to deliver personalized wellbeing recommendations to individuals. The cloud based, HIPAA-compliant enterprise offering creates personalized health assessments and detailed action plans using a user’s environmental factors, genetics, lifestyle, and medical records. LABCO, the largest European medical diagnostics group, has already implemented BaseHealth inside its existing platform, and will roll the new capability out to its network of 50,000 referent physicians over the next 5 years. (See also, “BaseHealth Seeks New Model for Offering Patients Genetic Health Information.”) Press release 

Seven Bridges Genomics, Inc. and Station X, Inc., announced that they have completed the integration of their respective platforms for researchers and clinicians seeking a seamless, end-to-end solution for scalable genomic data management, storage and analysis. The Seven Bridges Genomics Platform provides an integrated environment to manage next generation sequencing data analysis workflows. GenePool, from Station X, allows researchers to securely manage, visualize, and analyze processed genomic data from one to thousands of patients, and securely share the data and resulting knowledge with colleagues. Press release 

Optibrium and ChemAxon have integrated ChemAxon’s Plexus with Optibrium’s StarDrop software suite. The StarDrop software platform facilitates multi-parameter optimization, property prediction and data visualization to guide the design of compounds for drug discovery projects. ChemAxon’s Plexus is a web based collaborative discovery platform that enables scaffold- and reaction-based enumeration of compound libraries. Optibrium also collaborated with Certara to link StarDrop with Certara’s D360 platform, which provides scientific data integration, access, analysis, and visualization capabilities for early discovery through to the preclinical and clinical phases of drug development. Press release 1, 2 

Benchling, Inc. announced the launch of the Benchling Research Platform, as well as $5 million in new financing led by Andreessen Horowitz with participation from Thrive Capital. The Benchling Research Platform houses all of the data that scientists work with, including DNA sequences and images, while ensuring that all experimental data and context are fully versioned, indexed, and searchable. The platform features apps for core functions, such as designing DNA, creating interactive protocols, and annotating gel images; a live activity stream of research across an organization or lab; full-search over experimental data and context; and the ability to document, track, and witness experiments as they progress. Press release 

Veeva Systems unveiled Veeva KOL Data & Services, which delivers profiles of relevant key opinion leaders (KOLs) for more successful product launches. Veeva’s KOL solution builds on the recently acquired Qforma CrowdLink KOL database. Interactive relationship maps and hundreds of segmentation overlays, coupled with expert services, help to develop targeted engagement plans in each therapeutic area. All data is validated by specialized researchers around the globe to ensure ongoing completeness and accuracy. Press release 

IO Informatics (IOI) released Sentient Knowledge Explorer 5.1, the latest edition of IOI’s semantic data integration and knowledge management software for healthcare and life sciences. New features include an improved ontology import interface via web service from NCBO BioPortal, and HTTPS proxy server support. Knowledge Explorer provides graphical and machine inference-enabled creation of linked data from various sources, with a command line interface for embedding RDF creation in users’ programs or workflows. Press release 

Accenture expanded the Accenture Life Sciences Cloud for Research and Development (R&D) powered by Oracle with the addition of enhanced clinical data management capabilities. This latest version of the Accenture Life Sciences Cloud for R&D offers the Oracle Health Sciences Data Management Workbench (DMW), which includes prebuilt integrations to the Oracle Health Sciences InForm, an electronic data capture (EDC) solution. With the addition of the Oracle Health Sciences DMW, the Accenture Life Sciences Cloud for R&D automates the manual processes required to load, transform and clean trial data. Press release