NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Repositive, a spin-out from UK-based charity DNAdigest, has raised £300,000 (about $446,000) in seed funding, which it will use to launch its newly developed genomic data-sharing and collaboration platform.
The company, which was formerly called Nucleobase, raised £200k from angel investors in Cambridge and London and received an additional £100k in matched grant funding through the Big Venture Challenge. It will use the funds to launch repositive.io, a platform for researchers to share their datasets with others in the community as well as collaborate on genomics-based projects.
"Our mission is to facilitate efficient and ethical data sharing for genomics research — a challenging problem which requires both technical solutions and cultural change," Fiona Nielsen, the company's founder and CEO, said in a statement. "We are addressing both on the repositive.io platform by working closely with the research community to create the right incentives for our users to adapt best practices for ethical data sharing."
The Repositive platform provides a portal for exploring available genomic data and making datasets visible and accessible for initiating research collaborations. Users of the platform can locate datasets quickly and easily by searching and filtering metadata stored in existing data repositories and research institutions. The system also facilitates the registration of new metadata and enables easy contact between researchers, the firm said.
Enabling access to valuable sources of data that otherwise remain hidden has the potential to speed up the research process and provide the evidence needed to generate statistically sound results, according to the company. Genetic research requires access to a large amount of data from both patients and healthy individuals in order to identify and validate genetic variants that are associated with disease. However, many genomic datasets are never used to their full potential because of the lack of mechanisms for easy discovery and secure access to the data. This platform removes one of the most serious bottlenecks to progress in genomic medicine and will provide crucial foundations for finding cures for genetic diseases and cancer, the company said.
Repositive.io is currently available for beta testing. Interested parties can contact the company for information about participating in the beta. When it launches, repositive.io will be available for free for all registered users.
Repositive spun out of the charity DNAdigest in August 2014. The entities are co-located at the Future Business Centre Cambridge as part of the Social Incubator East.