Illumina has acquired cloud-based, rapidly configurable omics data analysis platform developer BlueBee for an undisclosed price, in a deal designed to accelerate the sequencing giant’s analysis and sharing of next-generation sequencing (NGS) data at scale.

By incorporating BlueBee’s genomics analysis solutions designed to extract insights from genomic data into its cloud portfolio, Illumina reasons it can better serve the clinical, translational research, population genomics, and biopharma customer markets. Illumina said it expects BlueBee’s cloud capability to lower the cost of storing, sharing and managing the genomic data that streams from Illumina’s installed base of more than 15,000 sequencing systems.

Illumina’s cloud software portfolio includes BaseSpace™ Sequencing Hub, a software solution intended for sequencing run management and data sharing. Illumina added that its cloud portfolio users will gain the flexibility to run their own custom analyses or access options such as the DRAGEN™ Bio-IT Platform, with the aims of streamlining their data processing and increasing their operational efficiency.

Users also will be able to aggregate, explore, and collaborate on data and methods directly in the cloud through a user-friendly, ISO-compliant, flexible interface, Illumina said.

BlueBee’s offerings include BlueFlow intuitive analysis management, BlueBase multi-modal data management, and BlueBench data science and AI tools, as well as integrated business analytics, and multi-cloud or on-premise deployment modes.

“Combining BlueBee and Illumina software products provides the most scalable, efficient, and extensible genomic analysis solutions for both clinical and translational research use cases,” Susan Tousi, senior vice president of product development at Illumina, said yesterday in a statement. “BlueBee truly brings unique capabilities, while ensuring secure deployment of clinical informatics across the globe, and together we hope to deliver an unprecedented learning environment in order to unlock the full potential of genomic insights.”

BlueBee originated as a spinoff from Delft University of Technology (TU Delft). Current BlueBee investors include Buysse & Partners, Korys, Quest for Growth, Capricorn Partners, Heran Partners, Delft Enterprises and Participatie Maatschappij Vlaanderen.

Just last month, BlueBee partnered with TruGenomix, a developer of next-generation genomic diagnostics for PTSD and other behavioral health conditions, through a biomarker-based risk assessment collaboration focused on behavioral health that a BlueBee spokesperson told GEN sister publication Clinical OMICs was hastened by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our team is encouraged at the prospect of joining Illumina where we believe we can merge high power computing and advanced data science technologies to help propel genomics forward and deliver on its clinical promise,” added BlueBee CEO Hans Cobben. “Together with Illumina we can create a sample to insight ecosystem for genomics while further expanding the utility of sequencing data.”

In announcing its acquisition of BlueBee, Illumina included comments from two BlueBee customers: Trey Martin, president of Integrated DNA Technologies; and Mark Straley, CEO of Agendia.

Agendia already combines Illumina’s genomic testing platform with BlueBee cloud computing services in order to secure, accurate and timely testing through two of its tests: BluePrint, a molecular subtyping test that analyzes 80 genes to enable stratification of tumors into Luminal, HER2, and Basal; and MammaPrint, a test designed to advise women on their risk of breast cancer recurrence.

“With Illumina’s acquisition of BlueBee, we now have the power and capability to streamline workflow configuration and optimize costs via data lifecycle management tools,” Straley stated. “Having these two partners now as part of one company will allow all parties to accelerate growth, expand our offering and, most importantly, help women with breast cancer around the world.”

“We are thrilled to welcome the BlueBee team to Illumina, and excited by the promise of delivering a streamlined way for users to analyze, explore and securely manage large scale genomics data,” added Tousi.

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