SAN FRANCISCO—Early May saw CollabRx Inc., a data analyticscompany focused on informing the clinical interpretation of moleculardiagnostic testing, team up with Boston-based GeneInsight LLC, a developer ofsoftware to support knowledge management and reporting for genetic testinglaboratories. The goal: deliver a robust medical informatics solution to bettersupport the interpretation and reporting of genetic variants fromsequencing-based tests.
The deal calls for CollabRx's medical and scientific contentto be made accessible through the GeneInsight knowledge management platform,and this effort is focused for now on oncology. The solution is aimed at usersin clinical laboratories, to support their genetic sequencing, interpretationand reporting needs.
"We are excited to work with GeneInsight to provide a keymedical informatics capability to the genetic testing laboratory market toaccelerate adoption of next-generation sequencing-based tests for cancer andbeyond," said Thomas R. Mika, CollabRx chairman, president and CEO, in theofficial release about the deal. "Our partnership with GeneInsight goes a longway towards enabling a truly integrated clinical laboratory workflow."
Although he had worked with people at GeneInsight in thepast at other institutions, CollabRx's head of business development andalliances, Dr. Gavin J. Gordon, says the company really came onto the radar forCollabRx in a deal-making sense last September after the announcement of a dealbetween GeneInsight and Illumina.
"They were making some commercial noise in the marketplace,and that opened up some interesting opportunities for collaboration," Gordontells DDNEWS. "In early February of thisyear, we reached out to them and started talking about we could do somepartnership-type discussions."
They ended up closing on the deal officially in April, hesays.
"GeneInsight has developed some nice relationships withleading academic-based sequencing centers as well as cancer-treatment centersand hospitals, and they've announced deals with Cedars-Sinai, Illumina andothers," Gordon continues. "The academic-based hospitals and sequencing centersare among the earliest adopters of next-generation sequencing technology,especially clinically oriented tech, so it makes sense for us to reach thatmarket in as many different ways as we can. Hence, this deal."
GeneInsight has been in use since 2005 and has supported theinterpretation and reporting workflow for more than 30,000 clinical genetictests across multiple diagnostic reference laboratories, the two companiesnote, adding that organizing and clinically interpreting genetic sequence datais among the greatest challenges facing treating clinicians. It is potentiallyoverwhelming to physicians, limiting their ability to use the data for actualeffective patient care, particularly when it comes to cancer.
The combined offering in oncology will enable clinicallaboratories to catalogue genetic variants from sequencing-based tests, andassociate them with CollabRx's expertly curated knowledge on available drugsand clinical trials, the companies explain. Laboratories will have the optionto incorporate this information into reports for treating physicians to enableincreasingly informed treatment planning. Knowledge management, reporting anddelivery of findings to ordering clinicians will be streamlined through GeneInsight's networked infrastructure, providing clinical laboratories the meansto update physicians as knowledge evolves so they can effectively managepatient care.
"The CollabRx and GeneInsight collaboration will enablelaboratories using GeneInsight to leverage CollabRx content as they draftreports explaining the significance of variants identified in patients," saidDr. Heidi Rehm, chief laboratory director at Partners HealthCare's Laboratoryfor Molecular Medicine, in the news release about the deal. "When it comes todiagnosing and developing treatments, we work closely with scientists andclinicians at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospitalto advance patient care. We are thrilled to work with CollabRx and its morethan 75 leading independent clinical practitioners to accelerate adoption ofclinical sequencing in cancer."
The collaboration is a perfect pairing, Gordon says, becausewhile the GeneInsight software platform allows people to handle and share data,it isn't actually populated with data. That's the part that CollabRx brings, sothat users can get a platform with data already in place—at least for cancer—insteadof having to populate the platform with data themselves.
"From mission, tactics and strength standpoint, we're verymuch aligned with GeneInsight," Gordon states. "And from practical standpointwe provide a piece that they are lacking and they provide something we lack."