SAN DIEGO, July 17, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Edico Genome announced today that it has raised $10 million in a Series A financing to commercialize its DRAGEN(TM) Bio-IT Processor, the world's first next-generation sequencing bioinformatics application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC). The financing was led by Qualcomm Incorporated, through its venture investment group, Qualcomm Ventures, and included Axon Ventures and Greg Lucier, who made his first investment following his role as chairman and chief executive officer of Life Technologies. Concurrent with the financing, Mr. Lucier was appointed to the Edico Genome board of directors. Advisory board members include Eric Topol, M.D., professor of genomics, The Scripps Research Institute, Charles Cantor, Ph.D., chief scientific officer, Sequenom, and Nils Homer, Ph.D., genomics informatics leader, Broad Institute. The financing will be used for commercialization of DRAGEN, which is expected to broadly launch at the American Society of Human Genetics annual meeting in October.
"Advancing and expanding the use of genomics in the clinic can only be achieved if researchers and physicians can quickly, efficiently and accurately process the immense amount of data generated from a human genome sequence," said Mr. Lucier. "Edico Genome's solution to speed data analysis and lower costs has the potential to have a large impact on many areas of medicine, particularly in oncology and non-invasive prenatal testing."
Jack Young, director, Qualcomm Ventures, added, "As sequencing volume increases, accelerated by the rapid decrease in cost exemplified by the arrival of the $1,000 genome, the opportunities for companies to enter the space and address the evolving needs for the industry grow significantly. We see the bottleneck shifting now to the analysis and transfer of the huge amounts of raw data generated by next-generation sequencers."
Edico Genome's DRAGEN Bio-IT Processor reduces the computational time required for analyzing a whole human genome from 24 hours down to 18 minutes. The company has demonstrated how one DRAGEN accelerator card can be used to analyze the data generated by a full HiSeq X Ten system producing 18,000 whole human genomes per year, which otherwise would take over 50 high-end computer servers. It is estimated this can result in a savings of approximately $6 million over four years.
This approach also reduces the need for clusters of large servers to process the data, reducing costs related to storage space and IT infrastructure. Edico Genome is completing validation studies with alpha customers that include clinical labs and sequencing centers and plans to submit this data for publication in peer-reviewed journals. Interested parties may apply for early access to the technology here.
"Adding more and more servers to manage sequencing data cannot be sustained. Edico Genome's solution is the world's first next-generation sequencing bioinformatics chip, an integrated solution that has the speed and accuracy to enable genomic medicine," said Pieter van Rooyen, Ph.D., chief executive officer of Edico Genome. "With Qualcomm Ventures, Mr. Lucier, and our other exceptional advisors onboard, plus Edico Genome's deep engineering expertise, we've recruited a formidable team to capitalize on the opportunity ahead of us."
The DRAGEN Bio-IT Processor is embedded on a PCIe form factor card and is provided with accompanying software as a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) platform that can be integrated into sequencing machines and next-generation sequencing bioinformatics servers. The processor is loaded with highly optimized algorithms for mapping, alignment, sorting and variant calling.
Edico Genome was founded in 2013 by Dr. van Rooyen, Robert McMillen, Ph.D., vice president of engineering, and Michael Reuhle, director of system architecture. The company became a member of EvoNexus, San Diego's only community-supported, fully pro-bono technology incubator, in May of the same year. For more information, visit www.EdicoGenome.com, or click here to view a video of Drs. Topol and van Rooyen discussing how to accelerate genomic medicine into the clinic.
SOURCE Edico Genome