DNAnexus Expands its Global Network for Genomic Medicine to China

Global Network for Genomic MedicineIt’s official – DNAnexus is expanding its cloud platform to China. A $15 million strategic investment and alliance with WuXi PharmaTech will bring cloud-based genomics to China and Chinese genomics to the world. We’ve been steadily building the global network for genomic medicine, and now we can serve the Chinese life science market.

With our leading genome informatics and data management cloud technology, DNAnexus is connecting WuXi NextCODE’s sequence data analysis suite and WuXi PharmaTech’s global, open access drug discovery and development services on a single platform. You can read more about our announcement in:

 

Why China?

China currently holds more than 20% of the world’s sequencing capacity and with a population approaching 1.4 billion and its ability to test and enhance new ideas, China represents the largest market in the world for next-generation sequencing. DNAnexus customers are global in scope and needed a China cloud solution to support their efforts. Pharmaceutical customers using contract research services in China will now have a seamless end-to-end HIPAA compliant platform to expand clinical research with collaborations and datasets and speed the development and delivery of DNA-based diagnostics.

This strategic alliance provides not just a China solution, but also a global solution. It unites the leading technologies to enable any company or institution to store and interpret their sequence data and collaborate with colleagues around the world through a single platform. For the first time, users will be able to use their genomic data seamlessly in tandem with the open access capability and technology (e.g. diagnostic test validation or FDA submission services) that WuXi offers to the global pharmaceutical and medical device industry.

Empowering Virtual Diagnostics

China is just one piece of the puzzle, albeit a big one. We envision this alliance fueling innovation and transforming large-scale sequence data business models, and laying the groundwork for virtual diagnostics enterprises to develop and deploy clinical and companion diagnostics in the cloud. By connecting the DNAnexus compliant cloud-based bioinformatics platform with WuXi leading genomics and R&D services, companies are able to focus on their intellectual property, and the development of algorithms and pipelines. WuXi and DNAnexus will facilitate groundbreaking virtual test development and deployment on a global basis, without the need for capital investment in test development and compute infrastructure.

Yes, we are scaling up our engineering team!

We are looking for smart motivated people. Leave your lab coat at home. Our core is building great software, the technology that powers our genomics data platform. Learn more about career opportunities at DNAnexus.

We are on the forefront of precision medicine, bringing together proven informatics for population-scale genome sequence data, the latest secure cloud technology, and the global reach of the Internet.

Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative: DNAnexus is There

David Shaywitz_White HouseLast week, President Obama held a meeting unveiling details about the Precision Medicine Initiative, an audacious research effort to revolutionize how we practice medicine and ultimately improve human health. At the center of this bold new initiative lies a huge new biobank containing electronic medical records and genetic information on more than a million Americans. Our very own Chief Medical Officer, David Shaywitz, joined the other personalized medicine stakeholders at the White House to weigh in as President Obama made the historic announcement. You can read David’s own first hand account of his visit to the White House here.

Developing cures for complex diseases is incredibly complicated, and the President’s initiative requires long-term vision. Already, the underlying sentiment seems to be that the reality of genomic medicine is here today, in the case of cancer, and targeted therapies are becoming increasingly common. But the realization of a more complete understanding of human genetics, one that will drive discovery and improve human health, requires deep, accurate, and accessible integration of genomic and phenotypic data from millions of people.

The development of a US biobank will require three distinct executional elements: creating, integrating, and analyzing complex data sets. Each of these elements presents unique and difficult challenges, but experience tells us that none are impossible. President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative calls for national implementation of solutions very similar to those developed by DNAnexus in collaboration with Regeneron Genetics Center and Geisinger Health System, and Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology (CHARGE), Baylor College of Medicine’s Human Genome Sequencing Center (HGSC), and other partners.

 

Robert Plenge, Heidi Rehm, David Ledbetter, Robert Nussbaum, waiting to enter White House (Photo: D. Shaywitz)
Robert Plenge, Heidi Rehm, David Ledbetter, Robert Nussbaum, waiting to enter White House (Photo: D. Shaywitz)

A cloud-based genome informatics and data management platform like DNAnexus combines state-of-the-art security with fluid data sharing among researchers, providing a collaborative environment that facilitates and promotes insight and discovery. And that’s exactly what the White House is betting on. These are exciting times, and we are thrilled to be participating, alongside our partners, at the front lines of innovation and policy.

 

100% Cloud-based Genome Center Integrating Large Healthcare Data Flows

photo: The Cancer Genome Atlas
photo: The Cancer Genome Atlas

In a previous post, our new CMO, David Shaywitz, talked about his vision for DNAnexus and its role in helping fulfill the promise of genomic medicine:

“DNAnexus represents a natural home for these aspirations, offering a compelling, secure, cloud-based data management platform, an enabling tool for any healthcare organization – academic medical center, healthcare system, biopharma company, payor – who recognizes that getting a handle on large healthcare data flows is rapidly becoming table stakes, and that figuring out how to manage and leverage genomic data is a wise place to start.”

Fast-forward two months…  This week, we announced exciting progress in our efforts to accelerate genomic medicine.  The DNAnexus cloud-based genome informatics and data management platform is powering a number of collaborations between Regeneron Genetics Center (RGC) and its leading healthcare provider partners.

In a RGC press release, they announced these new collaborators, which include the Geisinger Health System, Columbia University Medical Center, Clinic for Special Children, and Baylor College of Medicine. The RGC will be using the DNAnexus platform to integrate sequencing data with de-identified clinical records from patient volunteers. To date, the RGC has sequenced samples from more than 10,000 individuals and is currently sequencing more than 50,000 samples per year.

The Geisinger collaboration, which has been described as the largest clinical sequencing project in the U.S., is on track to sequence more than 100,000 patient volunteer samples. This DNAnexus-powered initiative has resulted in the first 100% cloud-based biopharma genome center, and is now operating at scale.

Next-generation sequencing technologies, like Illumina’s HiSeq 2500 or X Ten platform, have reduced the cost and increased the speed of DNA sequencing outpacing Moore’s Law to the point where the new bottleneck is genome informatics. To address this issue, companies like Regeneron are adopting cloud-based solutions to handle the massive volume of sequencing data.

DNAnexus provides the technology backbone that enables the sharing and management of data and tools around large volumes of sequencing data between the RGC and its healthcare collaborators. Currently the RGC is processing more than 1,000 exomes per week and sharing the data easily and safely with their collaborators.

In order to improve patient care and ultimately human health, the integration of genomic and phenotypic data needs to happen on a massive scale (something David has recently discussed from the perspective of phenotype here and here). Combining large cohorts of deeply-phenotyped individuals with their genomic data offers a wide range of medical applications, the most obvious being a more personalized approach to medical interventions such as which therapy might work best for a given individual. These data can also be used to aid in the development of new companion diagnostics and clinical trial participant selection. As an article in GigaOM put it this week: Cloud Computing is Coming for Your DNA, and it Will Lead to Better Drugs and Health Care.

These collaborations are powerful examples of how the DNAnexus platform is enabling an integrated approach between biopharmaceutical companies and their partners to accelerate the research and discovery process. As David said, healthcare industry leaders who prioritize the management of large healthcare data flows will emerge as the pioneers who help us realize the full vision of precision medicine –delivery of the optimal therapy to the right patients at the right time – ideally before they are sick.