Rather than develop separate solutions for parts of the market that fall outside their usual domains, Appistry and N-of-One have signed an agreement that lets them sell each other's content, technology, and services thus providing a complete solution for clients in the oncology market that covers raw sequence analysis through to clinical interpretation.
Under the terms of the agreement announced this week, N-of-One and Appistry will jointly market and sell N-of-One's interpretation services and content together with Appistry's bioinformatics next-generation sequencing analysis solutions and services to diagnostic labs, healthcare providers, and other healthcare organizations who, lacking the requisite infrastructure and expertise to handle the results of molecular testing internally, are looking to outsource their analysis and interpretation needs.
Appistry provides cloud-based infrastructure and bioinformatics pipelines for whole genome and exome analysis, somatic mutation analysis, RNA-seq analysis, and more. The company, which also distributes a commercial version of the Broad's Genome Analysis Toolkit, has to date sold its products to customers in the research market. N-of-One, meanwhile, provides clinical interpretation services that help oncologists and patients make decisions about cancer treatment strategies. The 40-person company provides interpretation services for tests developed by Foundation Medicine and the Fox Chase Cancer Center.
The alliance confers something of a competitive advantage over other vendors whose software and services exclusively target either the clinical or research market and puts the partners in a better position to compete with companies such as Qiagen, whose portfolio covers solutions for raw sequence analysis and will soon include tools for clinical interpretation. In addition, the arrangement frees both companies to focus on their respective strengths rather than invest time and resources in building systems to address the needs of new markets or in trying to recreate solutions that already exist. "It takes a lot of time to be good at what we do, and it takes a lot of time to be good at what [N-of-One] does," making partnership the more effective option for both companies, Appistry President and CEO Kevin Haar, told BioInform.
N-of-One came to the same conclusion a few months after it began mulling whether or not to develop a solution for raw sequence data analysis and variant calling that it could sell to those of its customers still struggling with those aspects of the analysis workflow, according to Chris Cournoyer, N-of-One's CEO.
Ultimately, "we felt that clinical interpretation was going to get more and more complex as we discover more and more mutations" and as new methods of analyzing and interpreting tumor data are developed, she said. As a result, "we needed to stay focused on that," Cournoyer told BioInform.
The partnership with Appistry, which grew out of talks between the two companies that began about a year ago, lets "[us] leverage … all of their technology skills, sequencing knowledge, [and] the knowledge of the cloud, while we could continue to evolve our offerings in clinical interpretation." Furthermore, the combined solution offers customers "the ability to be agnostic of the [sequencing] platform but still have an end-to-end solution," she added.
The companies are not publicly disclosing pricing for the combined products.