This week, Bina Technologies launched Bina On-Demand, a pay-per-use option for customers who require sporadic access to analysis capabilities, and simultaneously expanded the capabilities of its genome analysis platform to include an application for analyzing exomes.
Bina On-Demand offers budget-conscious customers more flexibility since they are charged per analysis run on the company's combined hardware and software platform. Usually, the company charges customers a $12,000 monthly subscription that covers installation and maintenance of a standard 2U Bina box as well as training and technical support (BI 2/22/2013). Under the new model, clients will receive an onsite installation but will pay a fee when they use it. Bina is charging $5 per gigabase, which equates to roughly $450 to $600 per whole genome and $50 to $100 per whole exome, the company estimates.
Customers who take advantage of the new option will not be charged additional installation and maintenance fees nor will they be charged for training and support. They'll also receive all software and hardware updates, the company said.
Bina launched its pay-per-use plan to make its solution more affordable for customers with only an occasional demand for genomic analysis. With on-demand, multiple academic labs in an institution, for example, could sign up for separate accounts on a single Bina box and be billed on a per-job basis, said Mark Sutherland, Bina's senior vice president of business development. Since there are no other fees attached, Bina essentially takes "the risk that over the aggregate, users at these types of accounts… will [have] enough jobs … that it makes sense financially for us to leave the box there without having a monthly minimum," Sutherland told BioInform.
The on-demand service will provide Bina's existing whole-genome analysis capabilities as well as its new exome analysis application — which is also available to existing subscribers via the company's web portal. The new pipeline, which is designed to work with data from commonly used exome capture kits, offers algorithms for things like detecting indels and SNPs, and identifying on and off target regions.
Bina decided to offer exome analysis capabilities because of conversations with current customers that highlighted the popularity of exome sequencing, particularly for studying the genetic basis of diseases in large cohorts where whole-genome sequencing costs often prove prohibitive, Sutherland said.
"One of the things that we've seen in certain disease areas is that researchers have been historically making tradeoffs [such as] do I look at 50 patients with whole-genome sequencing … or might I learn more by sequencing 500 patients … using exome sequencing?" he said. While whole-genome analysis may be the more appropriate approach for cancer studies, for instance, in cases where "you are just starting to learn about a disease and don’t know quite what you are looking for yet, sequencing the exome allows you to study about 10 times the number of patients and process each one more efficiently."
Moving forward, Bina will continue to focus its development efforts on analysis tools for other popular sequencing applications such as RNA-seq, Sutherland said. The company is also developing a cancer-specific analysis workflow, which will likely launch later this year, he said.