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Biomatters Inks Deal with Genewiz to Combine Genomic Services with Data Analysis


By Uduak Grace Thomas

Biomatters said this week that it has partnered with Genewiz, a genomic services provider, to develop an analysis solution for both firms' customers that will streamline DNA-based services from ordering to data analysis.

Genewiz will provide its customers with sequencing results in Biomatters' Geneious file format, which will enable them to download data directly into the company's Geneious Pro software to visualize and analyze their results.

Conversely, Biomatters customers will be able to submit in silico designed sequences or oligonucleotides for synthesis and analysis directly from Geneious Pro to Genewiz.

Under the terms of the agreement, that has been in the works for a year after a meeting between both companies' CEOs, Genewiz and Biomatters will undertake joint marketing and referral campaigns to encourage their respective clients to patronize the other's offerings.

Privately held Genewiz is a contract research organization that provides a range of DNA-based services including Sanger sequencing, gene synthesis, molecular biology, genomic services, and GLP- and cGMP-compliant services.

Shifang Zhang, vice president of corporate development at Genewiz, told BioInform that while clients who are working on DNA sequencing projects will likely be the first users of Biomatters' Geneious software, customers who require its services for other molecular biology-based applications will also benefit from the partnership.

"Geneious is a very general high-quality software with lots of functions for molecular biology," he said. While sequencing is currently "the bread and butter of what our customers are working on," he said that he expects the partnership to be of value for other applications such as plasmid preparation for gene therapies.

Peter Meintjes, Biomatters' market development manager, explained to BioInform that his firm will develop a plug-in for Geneious Pro that will link the data to the software.

He explained that once the technical integration is completed there will "effectively be a Genewiz folder inside Geneious." That means that "if you submit something for sequencing your results are automatically retrieved to that folder."

On the other hand, users will be able to submit synthesis data from inside Geneious, which, Meintjes said, is useful for primer design as well as other types of DNA synthesis. A customer would be able to send a digital sequence for an oligonucleotide to Genewiz, which would perform the synthesis and send the results back, he explained.

The partners plan to deliver the integrated solution before the end of the year. Customers will need to have a copy of Geneious Pro in order to reap the benefits of the partnership.

Headquartered in South Plainfield, NJ, Genewiz has laboratories in La Jolla, Calif.; Cambridge, Mass.; Germantown, Md.; as well as in Beijing and Suzhou, China. Zhang said the company is currently building a lab in Europe and plans to build more labs in the US.

In addition to its cache of Sanger sequencers, Zhang said that Genewiz plans to launch a next-generation sequencing service in a few months. Initially, the firm will likely purchase platforms from Illumina and Life Technologies' Ion Torrent, he said, with plans to add other major platforms in the future.

The company has clients in the pharmaceutical, clinical, and biotechnology industries as well as academic, and government institutions including the National Institutes of Health, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Have topics you'd like to see covered in BioInform? Contact the editor at uthomas [at] genomeweb [.] com.