A New Era in Genome Sequencing

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In the midst of all the ballyhoo surrounding Big Data and how it’s going to “transform how we live, work, and think” (a borrowing from the subtitle of the excellent book Big Data by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Kenneth Cukier), it’s encouraging to hear about applications that are actually living up to all the hype.

Case in point: Rip Empson writing in TechCrunch this week chronicles the rise of Bina Technologies, a Silicon Valley startup that makes it possible to analyze genomic data that until now, because of sheer volume, has been gathering digital dust.

The cost of genomic sequencing has been dropping, reports Empson, and we are well on the way to the $1000 genome and a new era of personalized medicine. Bina plans to be part of that era.

Although still in startup mode, Bina has already fielded a number of Big Data-based applications. For example, the company is working with the Medical Center of Wisconsin to implement whole genome sequencing for newborns in the Center’s neonatal intensive care unit. And back in the Valley, the Stanford Genetics Department is using the Bina platform to analyze several hundred whole human genomes in less than five hours, a task that normally takes several days.

Bina is poised to become a significant player in the $15 billion genomic research industry.

In this RichReport video, Narges Bani Asadi presents: Bina – Accelerating Data-Driven Healthcare.

Founded in 2011 by a group of Ph.Ds, big data junkies and bioinformaticians from Stanford and University of California Berkeley, Bina picks up and analyzes this genomic data that has been, until now, almost unusable,” comments Empson. “Through Bina, research universities, pharmaceutical companies and clinicians can get access to data that focuses on the rare variants in our genetics — in other words, those that cause our predispositions to cancer, newborn disorders, down syndrome, sickle cell, and so on.
Through the ability to better parse and make use of this data, the idea is that these downstream players can then facilitate significant improvements in patient care, treatment and, really, basic understanding of how the body works via insights at the molecular level.”

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