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Top-down approach to next-gen
October 2009
by Jeffrey Bouley  |  Email the author
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WESTBOROUGH, Mass.óWith an eye toward the technical launch of an integrated product service this month, sequence data management company GenomeQuest and New Zealand-based scientific software company Biomatters Ltd. announced at the end of August that they would form an alliance to offer researchers a landmark "top-down" discovery methodology for next generation sequencing (NGS) projects.

Specifically, the companies are integrating Biomatters' desktop analysis and visualization software, Geneious Pro v4.8, with GenomeQuest 6.0Beta, an sequence data management platform that allows research organizations to manage and mine their sequence data across a portfolio of projects as well as the world of reference data.

According to the two companies, the new integrated product service will allow researchers to perform global mining on their NGS projects to identify areas of interest, complete their local investigations with familiar desktop analysis and visualization tools, and manage their sequence data throughout the process.

Calling it a "world-first combination in bioinformatics," the companies maintain this new integrated offering will give scientists "a powerful and necessary new discovery methodology, allow them to perform all stages of discovery straight from their desktop, and harness the power of hundreds of processors for NGS projects."

Clearly, it's something that is needed and wanted out in the field, notes Ron Ranauro, CEO of GeneomeQuest, as he says that clients have been asking for this kind of combination.

"Support of a 'top-down' methodology with Geneious Pro was a capability requested by a number of our accounts with NGS projects and plans," Ranauro reports. "Geneious Pro software is emerging as a global front-runner for genetic sequence analysis and visualization. This alliance makes sense for the direction of our companies and, more importantly, for the fast emerging discovery needs of NGS researchers."

Also, both companies are very interested in increasing the ease and speed with which researchers will be able to mine, manage and share sequence data. Doing so, says Biomatters CEO Candace Toner, will mean shorter discovery periods and cost-saving efficiencies, and she adds that "around the world, life science researchers are focusing on getting the best performance from their technology partners. Future joint customers of Biomatters and GenomeQuest will achieve seamless integration to the desktop for all scientists, and provide centralized data and access to common workflow solutions from discovery phase, through to complex analysis and publication."

GenomeQuest 6.0Beta made its splash in the market back in late July, with the company touting it as "a new category of functionality, accessibility, and methods to genomics researchers and organizations seeking to fundamentally improve the performance of their discovery process and broadly prepare for next generation sequencing."

"These are exciting and defining times for genomic research," Renauro notes. "Beside us are powerful enabling forces, including vast and expanding reference databases, ever-increasing computing power and next-generation sequencing. In front of us are major contributions for the world, including in healthcare, personalized medicine, agriculture, the environment and energy. Immense research and business opportunities abound for research organizations that create and implement a genomic sequence vision."

But the challenge faced with such genomic sequence visions, he admits, is the question of how to manage all that sequence data.

Where his company's product and the new integrated offering with Biomatters will help, he says, is in meeting at least three major requirements: the need for fast and easy access to sequence information and discovery tools, the need among bioinformatics managers to upgrade their data management from a point-to-point to an open platform approach, and the desire for NGS scalability.  
 
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