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Company Hosts Cancer Genome Cloud, Raises $45 Million

DNA illustration

(National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, NIH)

16 February 2016. Seven Bridges Genomics, a computational biology company, unveiled its cloud-based cancer genome data sets, in one of three pilot tests for National Cancer Institute. The Cambridge, Massachusetts enterprise also raised $45 million in its first venture funding round.

National Cancer Institute, part of National Institutes of Health, aims to make the Cancer Genome Atlas more readily available for clinicians and researchers to better understand the molecular basis of cancer through genomic analytical techniques. Since 2006, the Cancer Genome Atlas collected tissue samples and analyzed 33 different types of cancers, including 10 cancers considered rare. Some 2.5 petabytes of data are expected to reside in the data sets; 1 petabyte equals 1,000 terabytes, and 1 terabyte equals 1,000 gigabytes.

For precision medicine to succeed — where genomic variations are matched to treatments — data in the Cancer Genome Atlas need to be readily available along with the computational resources to be useful. Downloading and local storage of these large data sets, however, would be too impractical, thus the Cancer Genome Atlas resides and will be made available in the cloud. National Cancer Institute is evaluating this approach, with pilot tests at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, Institute of Systems Biology, and Seven Bridges Genomics.

Seven Bridges will host 1 petabyte of data, representing samples from 11,000 individuals in the Cancer Genome Atlas. The company will also make it possible for researchers approved by NIH to add their own data for analysis and comparison to the Cancer Genome Atlas. Seven Bridges is partnering with Google Cloud and Amazon Web Services to provide private virtual cloud capabilities to subscribers, which can be supplemented with local deployments if subscribers have the capacity. In addition, the company says it can provide collaboration environments for distributed research groups, while ensuring security for the data.

Seven Bridges Genomics, founded in 2011, announced it raised $45 million in its first venture financing round. The round is led by Kryssen Capital that funds data-intensive start-up enterprises. The company announced as well the addition of two new members to its board, including Tom Daschle, former U.S. senator from South Dakota and majority leader. Also joining the board is Kai-Fu Lee, founding president of Google China.

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