At the AGBT (Advances in Genome Biology & Technology) meeting held this week in Marco Island, FL, the major sequencing platform providers all talked about how they were committed to helping researchers obtain more valuable insights. Assisting them in this goal were a number of solution providers who are focused on facilitating the analysis and interpretation of complex data.

Qiagen showcased a number of new informatics products, its product development engine supercharged by its 2013 acquisitions of CLC bio and Ingenuity and a recent survey by the company that identified complex data analysis as the biggest barrier to achieving research goals. 

The CLC Cancer Research Workbench, which is expected to launch in April 2014, will offer cancer-specific, ready-to-use analysis workflows that can be modified or personalized by the user. Advanced resequencing tools, in combination with an intuitive graphical user interface, will reportedly allow rapid analysis and accurate interpretation of next-generation sequencing (NGS) data. According to the company, CLC Cancer Research Workbench will provide scientists and clinicians with the tools to identify prognostic markers, identify subclonal somatic mutations, detect inherited traits, find biomarkers for drug response, and determine new oncogenes.

Qiagen’s other big introduction was Ingenuity® Clinical, a new web-based solution designed to deliver faster, easier-to-use, and high-confidence clinical interpretation and reporting of insights from NGS-based tests. Drawing upon the clinical and genomic data in the Ingenuity Knowledge Base, Ingenuity Clinical was specifically designed to address challenges of scale, speed and decision support that healthcare laboratories face in the adoption of NGS.

Also at the meeting was Agilent Technologies, which introduced its SureCall version 2.0 software, which promises to expand the capabilities of the company’s current NGS target-enrichment solutions. The newly upgraded software features compatibility with SureSelect custom target-enrichment and Human All Exon panels. According to the company, SureCall software will enable clinical researchers to transform raw NGS data into insightful analyses without requiring advanced bioinformatics training or laboratory infrastructure.

“Demand for clinical research labs to adopt next-generation sequencing technologies is at an all-time high,” said Victor Fung, senior director of marketing for Agilent’s Genomics Solutions Division. “But fast, efficient data analysis is a potential roadblock for both in-house bioinformatics teams and for those outsourcing data analysis. SureCall can help by reducing both set-up time and external bioinformatics spend.”

Leading up to AGBT, GenomOncology reported a collaboration with Roswell Park Cancer Institute to develop an informatics solution that enables the association of NGS results with knowledge resources to define actionable mutations. The partners intend to develop a software platform that integrates laboratory information management systems, electronic health records, information technology, and bioinformatics and that provides a workflow enabling genomic analysts and pathologists to create actionable reports. The company’s existing products include GO Clinical Workbench™, a decision-support tool with a workflow that takes raw data from the sequencer and translates the specific molecular profile of each patient’s tumor genome into an actionable clinical report, and GenomAnalytics™, which allows scientists to analyze one or hundreds of genomes simultaneously to look for causal variants.

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