Stanford Center for Genomics and Personalized Medicine Adopts DNAnexus on Azure

November 15, 2016

By Bio-IT World Staff

November 15, 2016 | The Stanford Center for Genomics and Personalized Medicine (SCGPM) has adopted the DNAnexus Platform on the Microsoft Azure cloud for its genomic analysis, data management, and collaborative research solutions.  The SCGPM, which supports researchers across nearly 80 laboratories, brought the two technologies together after working with both DNAnexus and Microsoft independently.

SCGPM had deployed both the DNAnexus platform (then hosted by Amazon Web Services) and the Azure cloud for different aspects of the core sequencing facility’s massive genomic processing and data management requirements, Brad Sitko, VP Finance & Corporate Development at DNAnexus explained today in a blog post. By linking the two, a distributed network of scientists and researchers now have secure and compliant access to petabytes worth of data via web browser through DNAnexus on Azure. Each month SCGPM generates on average 7.7 trillion base-pairs of data.

The DNAnexus platform has been used at SCGPM for more than two years. The switch to the Azure cloud won’t change the DNAnexus user experience, but will expand the options researchers have available. “The DNAnexus Platform user interface is identical for Stanford researchers,” Sitko told Bio-IT World. “The DNAnexus Science team has helped to reconstruct a number of SCGPM pipelines on Azure. SCGPM researchers will also have access to genomics tools created by Microsoft, such as their accelerated version of BWA / GATK on Azure which has accelerated the analysis time by a factor of 7x.”  

SCGPM is the first organization to use DNAnexus on Azure, but not the first to choose the platform for large scale genomic analysis. FDA commissioned DNAnexus with building PrecisionFDA last year. With this roll out, DNAnexus will now be available to any user on Azure. “It’s as simple as enabling the feature by contacting DNAnexus, creating a project within DNAnexus and selecting Azure for the cloud infrastructure,” Sitko explained.

The pairing should expand the number of users who can use DNAnexus. “Having access to the Microsoft Azure infrastructure will allow Microsoft’s many customers within the healthcare industry to streamline communication between groups such as healthcare providers and their clinical labs,” Sitko said. “DNAnexus on Azure helps to reduce information silos by creating more efficient collaboration. Researchers are able to also use their skills and Microsoft technologies they already know and rely on to perform their research.”