Genomics analysis market consolidates towards end-to-end solution

PierianDX has bought Tute Genomics, a move that underscores the trend toward providing an end-to-end solution in clinical genomics analysis to labs.


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A clinical genomics analysis provider announced Wednesday that it is buying a software company, underscoring an overall trend that shows how companies, small and large, are grappling with the challenges wrought by Big Data.

St Louis, Missouri-based PierianDx — did not disclose financial details surrounding its purchase of Tute Genomics, a software company that PieranDx believes could help it to provide a single platform for a range of molecular testing for personalized medicine.

“We were impressed with both the Tute team and technology assets, and believe that our combined efforts will provide a faster time-to-market for a best-in-class, single platform for constitutional and somatic cancer testing,” said PierianDx CEO Ted Briscoe, in an email forwarded by a representative. “Specifically, we were very interested in Tute’s enhanced phenotype-driven prioritization, filtering of variants, and querying tools for complex inheritance modes.” 

Genomics and personalized medicine have emerged as the tantalizing keys that may unlock the mystery of many diseases. But their adoption may be hindered by the so-called “four-headed beast,” a series of Big Data challenges. Unearthed by high-throughput screening, the bottlenecks include data acquisition, storage, distribution, and analysis, which limit the conversion of raw genetic data into clinically actionable information.

But the integrated, ‘sample-to-report’ approach to these next-generation sequencing challenges as espoused by PieranDx seems to be the path that is being charted out by large companies and start-ups alike. In January of this year, Thermo Fisher Scientific acquired Affymetrix in a deal valued at $1.3 billion. Just over a year earlier, Roche acquired Bina Technologies, gaining its own in-house end-to-end solution.

“This type of consolidation is exactly what the industry needs to bring to market the most unified workflow solution for genomic testing,” said Jeffrey Ries, vice president of Healthbox, in the PierianDx news release. Healthbox incubated Tute Genomics in 2012 during the startup’s first year of operation.

The Clinical Genomicist Workspace (CGW) developed by PieranDx is a cloud-based clinical workflow software that is aimed at clinical labs that are performing next-generation sequencing tests. The company’s software is used to analyze somatic cancer — where changes in a person’s somatic cells actually alter cellular function — unlike normal cell changes throughout a person’s lifetime. 

“One of the greatest benefits our customers receive from CGW is the ability to own and manage their patients’ genomic data,” Briscoe said. “Clinical labs are realizing that outsourcing genomic testing to large commercial providers is not in alignment with their long-term strategic goal of integrating patient genomic data into their electronic medical record.”

Tute Genomics, based in Provo, Utah, has expertise in whole-genome and whole-exome sequencing and analysis services. In early September, the company launched a Kickstarter campaign through which consumers could have their whole genome and exomes sequenced using an online portal. 

While PierianDx will maintain the separate Tute Genomics service, for now, the goal is to fully integrate the two platforms into its Clinical Genomicist Workspace 6.0 in the spring next year.  

Both companies have been augmenting their relative positions despite being relative newcomers to the field. In 2015, Tute Genomics acquired Knome, in an attempt to fortify its place in precision genome-guided medicine. PierianDx announced a co-marketing and licensing agreement with ArcherDX in July of this year.

Further consolidation and partnerships in the clinical genomics analysis market may well surface in the coming week as the industry gears up for the annual American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) meeting in Vancouver, Oct 18-22.

Photo: Nicol??s Mero??o, Getty Images