News: DNAnexus Offers Service for Clinical Testing Labs

This week we’re pleased to announce the launch of our specialized platform-as-a-service (PaaS) for the next-generation sequencing-based diagnostics market.

What does that mean? With this service, we are focusing specifically on clinical enterprises that want to eliminate the common costs and challenges associated with building clinically compliant pipelines for next-generation sequencing data analysis.

As demand for genomic data in the clinic ramps up, diagnostics companies that have traditionally used on-premise solutions are facing increasing challenges to scale their resources while meeting HIPAA and other regulatory requirements.

Clinical testing labs that are reconsidering those on-premise data centers need more than just a cloud provider; they also need a partner with expertise in genomics and bioinformatics to help build reliable, robust pipelines. That’s where we come in: with this PaaS, DNAnexus offers all of our usual rock-solid cloud computing along with access to our team of expert scientists and engineers who know this field inside and out.

Through our PaaS, clinical testing labs will be able to scale up their enterprise infrastructures for analyzing and managing DNA data. We provide a configurable API-based platform that allows users to move their analysis pipelines into the cloud, where they can utilize their own algorithms as well as industry-recognized tools and resources to create customized workflows in a secure and compliant environment.

One of our early clinical adopters, cancer researcher Boris Bastian from the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, said in a statement: “Working with the DNAnexus team has been invaluable for us as we deploy our data analysis pipeline to the cloud and work toward a production-grade clinical test. The DNAnexus platform is well-suited for rapid pipeline development and enterprise-readiness. We have relied heavily on their expertise in cloud-based solutions and benefited from their experience in managing data in a clinically appropriate manner.”

As part of this offering, we have ensured that our platform meets HIPAA, CLIA, and many other regulatory requirements for users working with sensitive medical information.

 

ISMB Recap: Looking for Knowledge and Imagination

ISMB Berlin 2013Earlier this week we were lucky enough to attend the annual Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology meeting in Berlin, an excellent venue for deep dives into computational biology.

Many of the great talks at this event were held within the SIG (Special Interest Group) meetings on topics as diverse as network biology, SNPs, structural bioinformatics, and integrative RNA biology. But as expected, the keynotes were terrific as well.

The opening keynote came from Gil Ast of Tel Aviv University and provided a fascinating look at alternative splicing, epigenetics, and chromatin organization. Ast noted that 95% of genes have been found to undergo alternative splicing, with as many as 10 isoforms per gene corresponding to tremendous transcriptional diversity. Almost half of alternative splicing occurs in the form of exon skipping, Ast said. Interestingly, vertebrates are the group that appears to have the highest form of alternative splicing, with humans having the most within the group.

On a broader level, what we really took from Ast’s talk was the importance of having wet labs and computational groups working together to form a solid testing/validation loop. That’s something we value the importance of at DNAnexus, too, which is why we have designed our platform to enable bioinformatics experts to work closely with collaborators who may be less comfortable with the computational side.

Another comment that really captured our own view came from Goncalo Abecasis at the University of Michigan, who told attendees in his keynote presentation that data is not the same as understanding. That sounds simple enough. However, there’s nothing simple about transforming data into knowledge. One of the key drivers of the DNAnexus platform is the concept that it should be easier for scientists to pull knowledge out of their data; we strive to simplify data analysis and management by offering an easy-to-use interface on top of infrastructure that we maintain so our users can efficiently find the answers to their research questions. Our goal in establishing a repertoire of available apps that anyone can select and arrange in a custom workflow also allows researchers to stay focused on creating knowledge from data by reducing the time required to create the optimal analysis pipeline.

We were glad to get the opportunity to speak with so many IT developers at ISMB about our new app program, which aims to deliver new genomics tools to our user community. Anyone is welcome to apply to participate in this program; we are providing members with an initial $1,000 credit for use in accessing cloud-based storage and computational resources and free technical support from the DNAnexus engineering team. Contact us at developers@dnanexus.com to learn more.

Congratulations to Our Newest iPad Winners!

We’re delighted to see that more and more people are signing up to keep updated on the status of the upcoming launch of our new platform. As promised, each month we have drawn a name from that growing list to be the lucky winner of a new iPad.

We have two new winners to announce:

For July, the lucky person was Marie Fahey, a bioinformatics analyst with Asuragen. And for June, the winner was Ravi Madduri, a fellow in the Computation Institute at the University of Chicago. Congratulations to both!

If you haven’t already done so, don’t forget to sign up on dnanexusx.com to be the first to know when we unveil the new platform.