Now that the $1,000 genome has arrived, the healthcare industry has wasted no time putting the mass amount of genomic data being generated to work.
Hospitals and companies are building analysis tools that compare an individual’s DNA data against other people’s to guide diagnosis and treatment. One challenge in doing that, according to SolveBio, is that right now there’s relatively little reference data. What is out there is mostly compiled by academic institutions, rarely curated and formatted without clear and common standards.
“There’s data on tens of thousands of patients spread over thousands of studies, and in the future there will be millions,” said Mark Kaganovich, SovleBio’s CEO.
The company wants to make it simpler for developers to integrate that genomic data into their applications. Launching today with a $2 million seed round, the company is releasing an API for discovering and querying thousands of publicly available reference databases.
“Different hospitals and companies try to come up with clinical interpretations of DNA data, but all of them use the same content; it’s just a question of looking for your particular case in other databases,” Kaganovich explained. “We realized that the (data) content is the most important part.”
Instead of each organization building its own infrastructure to parse and organize that data, SolveBio indexes it and makes it easier for programmers to access and query securely. Customers are hospitals, diagnostic companies and biotech R&D labs, Kaganovich said.
There are a few other players in the business of helping developers access this data, including DNAnexus and GeneStack. SolveBio’s spin attracted a handful of investors to the seed round including Andreessen Horowitz, Max Levchin and SV Angel.
Kaganovich is a Harvard biochemistry and computer science grad working on a PhD in bioinformatics at Stanford. His team is rounded out by David Caplan, a web developer and computational biologist; Paul George, an engineer; and David Gross, a designer.