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IBM, Edico Partner to Provide Accelerated Genome Analysis Solution

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Edico Genome said today that it is partnering with IBM to make Edico's Dragen bio-IT processor available on one of IBM's high-performance computing servers.

Specifically, it has implemented Dragen on the IBM Power Systems S822LC. The high-performance computing server is designed for clients that need large quantities of processing power and increased workload density without a corresponding increase in data center floor space. It incorporates multiple Power8 processors and tightly coupled field-programmable gate arrays and accelerators and offers a bandwith of 64 gigabits per second, according to specifications on IBM's website.

Edico also said that it has implemented an accelerated version of the Broad Institute's Genome Analysis Toolkit on the Dragen processor. In addition to GATK, Dragen also has pipelines for transcriptome, metagenome, epigenome, and joint genotyping analysis. These pipelines can be used to analyze both human and non-human genomes. Existing customers include HudsonAlpha and Sequenom. Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it would evaluate the utility of the platform for use in public health and infectious disease applications. The partners also planned to co-develop databases, database configurations, and parameters to optimize the hardware for microbial applications.

By combining the accelerated GATK with IBM's infrastructure, researchers will be able to reduce the amount of time required for analysis tasks, the company said. According to the results of internal tests, variant calling takes about 18 minutes using the Dragen-implemented version of GATK with the IBM server. This is compared to 30 hours using some existing systems, the company said.

"Providing Dragen on IBM Power Systems offers both existing IBM customers and additional hospitals and academic centers seeking to build a genomics infrastructure with a rapid, accurate, and easily integrated analysis solution," Edico's CEO Pieter van Rooyen said in a statement. "In addition ... accelerated GATK, enables genomic researchers to access a comprehensive toolkit of algorithms in one spot."

As part of the collaboration with IBM, Edico has joined the OpenPOWER foundation, a 200-member organization of technology suppliers and users that support and contribute to the Power open architecture. As a member, Edico will be able to access to Power central processing unit processors and systems platforms for optimization, development activities, and advanced hardware technology exploitation.

Edico also has a partnership with Intel that it inked last year to combine Dragen with Intel processors.