Eagle Genomics said this week that it is working with several groups to develop cloud infrastructure that can reduce the amount of time required to store large quantities of genetic information produced as genes are sequenced and analyzed.
The partners plan to develop a platform that stores genetic data so that it can be accessed only by approved users, enables data comparisons, and improves disease diagnoses and treatment selections.
Supported by a £500,000 ($800,500) grant funded in part by the UK's Technology Strategy Board, the project began in July and is expected to result in a complete system by the end of 2012.
The UK-based firm is working with the University of Manchester; Cytocell; the National Genetics Reference Laboratory at the Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; and the National Institute for Health Research's Manchester Biomedical Research Centre.
The project will build on the Taverna workflow management software developed by Carole Goble’s myGrid team at U of Manchester. In February, Eagle signed a collaboration agreement with the university to provide commercial support for the open-source system.
Andy Brass, a professor in U of Manchester's computer science department, said in a statement that Taverna is “ideal" for the project "because it allows you to systematically automate the analysis processes of expert geneticists and make them easily available for other to use at the press of a button.”
Eagle plans to work with the university to adapt Taverna in way that allows non-IT experts to add and extract information and share it with their colleagues.
When it is complete, the final product will provide medical researchers who are developing and testing new treatments with access to information stored in the cloud that they can use for comparisons to find common genetic links, Eagle said.
Additionally, the tools will help clinicians explore patients' genetic information in order to guide diagnosis and treatment.