DNAnexus raises $100 million to expand its genomics data analysis platform


DNAnexus, a company that provides a data analysis and management platform for DNA sequence data, today announced that it has secured $100 million in a round co-led by Perceptive Advisors and Northpond Ventures. DNAnexus says the funds will advance its international growth, enabling the company to serve health care and life science organizations around the world as it grows its cloud-based clinical testing offerings.

A number of DNAnexus customers — which include eight of the top 10 clinical diagnostics companies, seven of the top 10 pharmaceutical companies, and over 100 enterprises — tap the platform for machine learning applications. They perform AI-aided variant calls, which entail identifying substitutions of single nucleotides (the building blocks of DNA) and small insertions and deletions from next-generation sequencing data. And they rely on deep learning for pathology processing, medical record interpretation, and for extracting insights out of large-scale data proteomics (the study of proteins) and metabolomics (the study of the products of metabolism) data.

DNAnexus was founded in 2009 by Stanford University professors Serafim Batzoglou and Arend Sidow and Stanford computer scientist Andreas Sundquist. The trio aimed to address the need for computing infrastructure in DNA sequence analysis with a suite of cloud-based services, and they achieved success early on. In October 2013, DNAnexus teamed up with the Human Genome Sequencing Center at Baylor College of Medicine to perform the largest cloud-based genomics analysis at the time, processing 3,751 whole genomes to 10,771 exomes (regions of the genome that are known to encode proteins) in 430 terabytes of data.

Customers of DNAnexus use computational resources from Amazon Web Services (AWS), the company’s cloud provider, to run analysis on sequence data and to store that data. With DNAnexus’ Apollo product, clients can upload and integrate data sets for exploration, including clinical, research, and real-world data sets using a range of models. They’re able to drag and drop charts to create custom dashboards that provide a snapshot of each cohort, and to explore clinical data associations through tools, charts, and visualizations that make sense out of billions of data points.

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DNAnexus’ Titan, which complements Apollo, is a platform-as-a-service product built to scale to thousands of machines and millions of objects. It standardizes data by letting customers create, refine, validate, and execute pipelines and automatically track data provenance, and by letting team members share data, tools, and analyses with collaborators while controlling access and security.

The last spoke in the product wheel — Portals — provides a space for organizations to showcase projects with data sets, tools they’ve published, and news and highlights. Companies can use Portals to present users and partners with a custom landing page containing configurable widgets and to select and host apps and workflows with specific versions users can access on the fly. Portals can route support requests to customer agents as necessary, providing a robust help document library, and can serve request and approval forms to allow users to access, browse, and inspect data.

DNAnexus claims to have processed over 14 petabytes of data and stored 28 petabytes of data to date, and its customers now run over 100,000 compute jobs per month, amounting to over 10 million core processing hours in AWS. The company provides search and analysis tools for the UK BioBank (a data set of clinical records collected from 500,000 volunteer participants) and for the National Center for Biotechnology Information’s Sequence Read Archive. And it continues to work with members of Google Brain to improve DeepVariant, a genomics variant caller developed by Google Brain and Verily that taps AI models to spot genetic variants in genomes.

Beyond this, in collaboration with Microsoft, DNAnexus powers St. Jude Cloud, providing access to the world’s largest public repository of pediatric cancer genomic data to accelerate mining, analysis, and visualization capabilities. Titan supports the Vertebrate Genomes Project, which hopes to generate reference-quality genome assemblies of all 66,000 vertebrate species. And DNAnexus built precisionFDA, an open source platform backed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for community sharing of genomic information.

Investors in DNAnexus’ latest funding round include GV (formerly Google Ventures), Foresite Capital, TPG Capital, First Round Capital, and first-time equity investor Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. The round brings the company’s total raised to over $270 million, following a $68 million series F in February 2019.

DNAnexus is headquartered in Mountain View, California, with offices in San Francisco, London, and Prague.

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