Sequencing for success

Roche acquires Bina Technologies, enters genomic informatics market

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PLEASANTON, Calif.—With a goal of getting up to speed in the genomics and personalized medicine arena, global pharma Roche has acquired privately held Redwood City, Calif.-based Bina Technologies Inc. to gain access to Bina’s Big Data platform for processing of next-generation sequencing (NGS). Bina’s proprietary on-market Genomic Management Solution, Bina-GMS, empowers basic, translational and academic researchers to perform fast analyses to maximize the value of genomic data.
The acquisition by Roche will enable Bina to accelerate product development and global commercialization of the Bina GMS as an enterprise software system supporting multiple sequencing technologies while developing a solution for Roche sequencing systems. Roche, in turn, will help Bina to continue growing the company’s unique interdisciplinary team of bioinformatics and computer scientists and software engineers.
Plans called for Bina to be integrated into the Roche Sequencing Unit—which is headquartered in Pleasanton, Calif.—in this first quarter of 2015, and continue to focus on expanding its genomic analysis solutions portfolio. The financial details and terms of the agreement are not being disclosed.
“The acquisition of Bina is a significant step for Roche to enable the promise of personalized healthcare by delivering the highest-quality genomic data possible,” Dan Zabrowski, head of Roche Sequencing, stated in a news release. “Informatics and data management are critical to providing a seamless, end-to-end sequencing solution. Bina’s products are designed to improve the efficiency and value of genomic analysis, and the company continues to develop new methodologies and algorithms that link NGS data to disease-relevant genetic markers.”
Zabrowski tells DDNews, “The acquisition of Bina not only complements our existing technologies, but enables the development of this end-to-end sequencing workflow solution.”
“Bina is a strong company with excellent management,” Zabrowski says. “We plan to engage in a limited integration and expect Bina will act as a standalone enterprise; however, we also expect future development of Bina to be aligned with other recently acquired technologies, including the Genia nanopore sequencing system and Ariosa Diagnostics.”
Roche, headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, has been aggressive in its drive to achieve faster results with the latest technology.  
In late 2014, Roche acquired noninvasive prenatal testing company Ariosa Diagnostics, and in a separate transaction, acquired technology developed by AbVitro to develop targeted sequencing panels for the Genia and Pacific Biosciences platforms.
Also, in summer 2014, Roche invested up to $15 million in Stratos Genomics to develop its sequencing-by-expansion chemistry.
“As pioneers in sequencing with a rich heritage in diagnostics, the Roche Sequencing Unit is committed to a future in sequencing that fosters innovation to provide solutions that enable scientific discovery and deliver clinical value,” according to Zabrowski.
The acquisition of Bina is a “substantial step toward providing this comprehensive end-to-end solution,” he says.  
Narges Bani Asadi, founder and CEO of Bina, stated in a news release, “Roche’s acquisition of Bina is a great validation of our work and technology. It is also an indication of how informatics and data science are going to play a major role in the future of medicine. We found great alignment between our companies' vision and values, and we are very excited about the possibilities of working with Roche’s global team and serving academic, translational and clinical research markets together in the future.”
Bina is able to analyze a whole genome in around four hours, and Asadi adds that Bina-GMS is expected to dramatically improve the speed and cost of genomic analyses. The informatics system is reportedly compatible with sequence data from all available NGS systems.
Bina recently announced selection of its platform by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide whole-genome, whole-exome and SNP Chip DNA data analysis as part of the VA’s Million Veteran Program. The acquisition by Roche will enable Bina to further expand support to similar Big Data population studies, as well as grow its offering for global enterprise and clinical research customers.
“It is our shared vision with Roche that informatics and data sciences are critical elements of an end-to-end genomics solution,” Asadi said on the Bina website. “Fast, easy-to-use, scalable and robust informatics solutions make a big difference in the quality and impact of the work of scientists and researchers. We believe in the future of data-driven, personalized medicine. We are passionate about accelerating that future together with Roche.”

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