TUCSON, Ariz.—In April, Sunquest Information Systems Inc. announced the acquisition of GeneInsight Inc., an information technology company that streamlines the analysis, interpretation and reporting of complex genetic tests.
“We are at the beginning of the most exciting decade in healthcare, and precision medicine is one of our highest priorities for innovation,” said Matthew Hawkins, president of Sunquest. “GeneInsight is the most clinically proven platform on the market and advances our ability to deliver a complete and integrated workflow for both inherited and somatic testing efforts. We will continue to invest in GeneInsight and introduce additional solutions that advance molecular and genomic-based diagnostics.”
And when he says “continue to invest,” he doesn’t just mean investments going forward inspired by having a new company folded into the Sunquest culture—in fact, Sunquest has already been literally invested in GeneInsight for a couple years.
In September 2014, Sunquest and Partners HealthCare (a majority shareholder in GeneInsight) announced they were establishing a strategic alliance to accelerate genomic-based medicine—a relationship involving a strategic investment by Sunquest into GeneInsight.
Sunquest said of that alliance on its website that “The Sunquest and GeneInsight strategy is to enable providers and laboratories to maximize their understanding of each and every genomic interpretation and to share this new knowledge with other institutions on a global scale.”
And even that strategic investment wasn’t the start of their relationship. Partners HealthCare and Sunquest at the time of that investment were already in year five of a 10-year relationship and co-development agreement to enhance the anatomic pathology and laboratory information systems. At the time, Partners had also recently implemented Sunquest’s IT technology as its enterprise pathology platform.
Getting back to the present, Sunquest said its further investment in GeneInsight by acquiring the company supports continuing efforts to integrate genetics into routine diagnostic workflows and make findings available to clinicians globally on a real-time basis.
As the companies have noted in the past, as sequencing costs plummet, genetic data is increasingly available to diagnose, treat and predict disease, and “Integrating this genetic information into the practice of medicine in a robust and timely manner is challenging. The key to doing so effectively is to reduce the high level of complexity inherent in the genomic interpretation process through the development of tools and infrastructure that enable the clinical community to identify, track and annotate significant findings in real time and at scale. Today, only a small fraction of that data is accessible to researchers and clinicians.”
That is a problem they hope to solve together.
Under the terms of the acquisition agreement, GeneInsight will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Sunquest and maintain its existing Boston-based office.
“GeneInsight’s goal is to provide clinicians and laboratories with the ability to constantly improve clinical genetic processes and enable deeper cross-organizational communication for the benefit of patients,” said Sandy Aronson, executive director of information technology, Partners HealthCare’s Personalized Medicine and a founder of GeneInsight. “Sunquest will bring the GeneInsight solution to far more institutions, furthering its integration into pathology workflows and, by doing so, enable it to help many more people.”
The GeneInsight platform, GeneInsight Suite, was developed by Partners HealthCare in collaboration with leading geneticists, laboratory operations personnel, practicing physicians and IT professionals, and it has been in continuous clinical use since 2005 and has generated 50,000 clinical reports, more than all the other clinical solutions available on the market today combined, according to the company. More information can be found at www.geneinsight.com
Sunquest Information Systems Inc. provides laboratory information systems to more than 1,700 laboratories. Since 1979, Sunquest has helped laboratories across the world optimize financial results, enhance efficiency and improve the quality of patient care. In addition to its Tucson operation, the company has offices in the United Kingdom and India.