Partnership with St. Jude and Microsoft – Let’s talk about it at HIMSS 2018

We’re partnering in an exciting new collaboration with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Microsoft to analyze and store half a petabyte of pediatric cancer genomic data. This collaboration will accelerate discoveries and treatments to cure pediatric cancer and other rare diseases by giving researchers and clinicians the ability to collaborate globally and enabling the rapid generation and analysis of genomic data.

DNAnexus, deployed on Microsoft Azure, provides a secure and agile ecosystem in the cloud while simultaneously eliminating security, storage and speed limitations – all of which will enable St. Jude researchers to focus on complex problems on a collaborative, global scale.  

DNAnexus’ strength comes from its agile co-development process. We partner with our customers to solve new big data problems that are continuously evolving. Our team works closely with the St. Jude and Microsoft teams to determine the specific requirements and translated it into tailored solutions. From kick-off meeting to production deployment, its a seamless process that helps our customers and collaborators achieve their goals, no matter how ambitious.

With our secure, cloud-based infrastructure and complimentary tools, researchers will be able to integrate a multitude of disparate datasets, develop their own tools, and collaborate in a secure environment enhancing the sharing of data and accelerate discoveries.

You can read more on how we’ve joined forces to fuel scientific discovery in a joint press release from St. Jude here and Microsoft has written a great blog post where you can learn more about Microsoft Genomics Service and the partnership.

We’ll be at this year’s HIMSS 2018 Conference and available at Microsoft’s booth #3832 in Las Vegas, Nevada from March 5th – March 9th, as part of the larger Microsoft patient journey providing solutions in enabling more precise treatment and better patient outcomes.

Visit us at Microsoft booth #3832 and schedule a meeting with our team – email us at himss18@dnanexus.com.

DNAnexus Presents at JP Morgan Healthcare Conference

JP Morgan Healthcare 2016Today kicks off the 34rd annual JP Morgan Healthcare Conference, which continues to be healthcare’s greatest deal-making and high-powered networking event of the year. Each year industry leaders unveil new products, as attendees scope out emerging trends in healthcare’s rapidly-evolving sectors such as digital health and diagnostics. Last year the introduction of the the HiSeq X Ten from Illumina made great waves as it would continue to drive down sequencing costs and democratize genomics. We look forward to this year’s announcements in genomics which will undoubtedly be focused on what can be achieved with large scale sequencing.

However, biotech wasn’t always big business; leading up to 1980 it was Big Pharma that attributed to the majority of drug discovery. If you’re curious on how biotech evolved from risky investment to booming business, Luke Timmerman and Meg Tirrell do an outstanding job chronicling biotech’s coming of age in The Signal podcast.

DNAnexus is honored to be presenting this year. Richard Daly, CEO, will deliver a presentation on Tuesday, January 12th at 2pm PST in the Elizabethan D room at the Westin St. Francis. In his talk, titled The Network is the Solution in Genomics, Richard will discuss the convergence of genomics and cloud computing and how DNAnexus has acquired market leadership in this sector by building out a global network via its integrated genome informatics and data management platform.

2015 was a breakout year for DNAnexus, expanding our global network of key customers and partners by 6-fold, many of which we have announced publicly. We help biopharmaceutical companies (Regeneron), leading genome centers (Baylor College of Medicine, Stanford University), pioneering diagnostic test providers (Natera, CareDx, Intermountain), sequencing service providers (The Garvan Institute, WuXi NextCODE), research consortia (ENCODE, CHARGE, 3000 Rice Genomes Project) and the US Government (precisionFDA) accelerate their genomics programs globally. Our focus on secondary analysis and building out a partner/collaboration network drives substantial growth. Laboratory information management systems (LIMS) and sequencing instruments easily integrate with DNAnexus, as well as downstream tertiary analysis and reporting solutions.

DNAnexus workflow

Genomics has been called the original big data, and it’s only going to get bigger. Organizations participating in global large-scale sequencing projects studying thousands or even millions of genomes are becoming the norm. In an article, Big Data: Astronomical or Genomical?, in PLOS Biology projects that by 2025 the genomics industry will outpace three other major big data generators: astronomy, YouTube, and Twitter, in projected annual storage and computing needs by a factor of 2-20x. Our own projections suggest more than 400,000 TB of genomic data in 2016, and only 0.01% of the world’s population has been sequenced.

As big data aggregates online, new standards will need to emerge for discovering and querying datasets, for authenticating requests, encrypting sensitive information, and controlling access. DNAnexus, along with the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health and others are already working together to develop approaches that facilitate interoperability.

At DNAnexus, we believe the cloud is the only technology that is capable of keeping pace with big data. It eliminates time and the capital expenditure of creating and upgrading local infrastructure for data analysis. The elasticity of the cloud allows for near limitless scalability and immediate availability to resources. And with the cloud’s online nature, researchers are able to share data and tools and collaborate instantaneously with others around the world. Our industry is long overdue to replace hard drives and FedEx as the means for collaboration, and patients and researchers worldwide will benefit from a simpler means to collaborate. DNAnexus, and its global genomics network, is addressing the challenges of genomics big data.

At Bio-IT World, Genome Centers Dished on Big Data

BioIT World 2013At the Bio-IT World Conference & Expo last week in Boston, more than 2,500 attendees descended on the World Trade Center to hear about the latest in hardware, analysis, data storage, and much more. The DNAnexus team was out in force, and we were delighted to share updates about our new platform with the many attendees who stopped by our booth.

The conference had a number of excellent keynote talks this year, including Atul Butte from Stanford and Andrew Hopkins from the University of Dundee. We also really enjoyed seeing Steven Salzberg’s acceptance of the Benjamin Franklin Award for Open Access in the Life Sciences — a much deserved honor for one of the veterans of the bioinformatics field.

Perhaps most interesting was a panel discussion about big data featuring members of major genome centers. Panelists included Guy Coates from Sanger, Xing Xu from BGI, Eric Jones from the Broad Institute, and Alexander (Sasha) Zaranek from Harvard Medical School and a company called Clinical Future.

For those of us who remember when it was a big deal to have a terabyte of storage available, it was truly amazing to hear that most of the panelists have 15 petabytes or more of data stored and easily accessible. Still, even with resources like that, some of the panelists encourage their institute members to delete data when possible, such as the unaligned reads from a sequencing run.

Access control is a real problem for managing data at these large centers. Sanger’s Coates said that his institute’s move into the clinical field — complete with consent forms and all the other compliance needs — makes controlling access “a real nightmare” for his team. Jones at the Broad said that this issue basically means people in the field are living on borrowed time as it becomes increasingly important to find the right solution to this challenge. Zaranek noted that Clinical Focus will use the Arvados tool to include security permissions and provenance along with the files to address this issue.

The panelists also specifically discussed cloud computing, with BGI’s Xu saying that the cloud is his center’s main data repository. Still one goal is to facilitate more rapid and efficient exchange of genomic data globally via higher bandwidth, although they have tested this using Aspera. They successfully transferred 24 GB in just 30 seconds across countries, but this feat is not yet economical enough for routine use. Coates said that his group uses cloud options (including Amazon) for research projects, but they are still evaluating how to integrate cloud for the production pipeline in a cost-effective way. At the Broad, Jones said, the need to move to the cloud is understood, but so far internal computing is still enough for institute members; he added that the cloud’s elasticity will ultimately drive adoption, allowing people to run very large jobs that would otherwise interfere with the rest of the institute’s compute resources. Zaranek’s group is using cloud computing from Harvard and from Amazon and said that having both options is incredibly valuable. It will also allow other organizations to access their resources. Coates and Jones said that the real challenge in managing data is when individual researchers start moving data around, because tracking that data and predicting resource needs can become difficult.

These are all issues that we have given a great deal of thought to as we designed and built the new DNAnexus, now available for beta testing. We agree that security and compliance are important components of any compute solution — whether cloud-based or in-house — and that’s why we baked the highest standards right into our new tool. Having flexibility to configure the environment as needed, such as scaling up or down at a moment’s notice, is another key trait of the new platform and one that we believe will be quite useful for scientists in individual labs or at these major genome centers streaming data around the clock.