Gaining ground with genomics

NextBio, Genophen partner to advance genomics in personalized medicine

Kelsey Kaustinen
SANTA CLARA, Calif.—NextBio and Genophen, a StanfordUniversity spinout company, have announced the formation of a partnership thataims to advance the adoption of genomics for disease prevention and wellness.Both companies bring with them informatics platforms designed to handle andinterpret the reams of data that come with combining genomic and medical datainto more accurate, personalized treatment plans.
 
 
Under this partnership, Genophen will have access to theNextBio Clinical platform for use in interpreting full-genome sequencing data,and will be able to combine that data with information on a person'senvironmental, behavioral and clinical factors to produce more tailored diseaseprevention and wellness plans for its members. No financial details weredisclosed.
 
 
"Genophen's aim is to make the dream of personalizedmedicine a tangible reality," Saeid Akhtari, president and CEO of NextBio, saidin a press release. "Our partnership allows NextBio to take a first steptowards the use of genomics for wellness and disease prevention, one of the ultimategoals of modern medicine."
 
 
Akhtari says the two companies were in discussions forseveral months prior to the announcement of the partnership, and conducted apilot project before making the agreement final. He adds that NextBio is "veryimpressed with Genophen's team, technology and their vision for personalizedpreventive medicine."
 
 
"Genophen is the first company to take lifestyle factors insynergy with genetic information derived from full-genome sequencing to createa personalized health risk assessment and a set of recommendations for eachindividual," Dr. Hossein Fakhrai-Rad, co-founder, CEO and president ofGenophen, commented in a statement. "NextBio's vast and comprehensiverepository of curated genomic and clinical data from the public domain addsdepth to our analysis. This partnership with NextBio Clinical enables us toefficiently analyze and interpret whole-genome data."
 
 
The partnership, Akhtari points out, provides Genophen with"a comprehensive platform for interpreting their clients' full-genome sequenceand providing clinically relevant variants."
 
 
"Genophen integrates the genomics data provided by NextBiowith medical, behavioral and environmental data to assess an individual's riskfor multifactorial chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer,among others," he explains. "They have a network of trained physicians who willreview the personalized health assessment data with the patients to help themunderstand their health risks, the impact of genomics on their health andproper action they can take to reduce their risks of developing multifactorialchronic diseases."
 
 
Akhtari says that NextBio introduced its NextBio Clinicalplatform in 2012, with the goal of "providing a comprehensive solution forrapidly expanding clinical application of genomics." NextBio's platform enablesdata aggregation and interpretation on a large scale for both research andclinical applications, offering a new solution for the massive amount of datagenerated by genomic sequencing. The platform, which recently passed anindependent HIPAA audit, is capable of analyzing petabytes of data, and isdelivered as a software-as-a-service solution. NextBio's platform can integratedata from a variety of sources, including public data as well as a patient'sown clinical and molecular data. Akhtari says that he expects "the fastestgrowing applications of clinical genomics to be in cancer care, diagnostics,preventive medicine and wellness."
 
 
Genophen notes on its website that its platform begins withdata modeling, combining a patient's information, including pharmacogenomics,with "published and curated genetic data, published scientific data and healthdatabases to create our fact tables and conduct meta-data analysis and buildour algorithms." A patient's risk for chronic diseases such as diabetes, heartdisease, stroke and cancer is determined through "genetic analysis, statisticalmodeling, mathematical risk modeling and prediction analysis," and then atreatment recommendation is generated based on multidimensional data modelingthat "considers many factors and sub-factors to capture complex relationshipsbetween diseases and risk factors."
 
 

Kelsey Kaustinen

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