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In-Q-Tel Supports Development of OpGen's Microbial Genome Mapping System, Migration to Cloud

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This article was originally published May 7.

Last week, OpGen announced that In-Q-Tel, a nonprofit investment group that supports the US intelligence community, will support the development of a high-throughput sequence and genome mapping pipeline for microbial genome analysis.

OpGen could not disclose financial details or other specifics of the agreement, but Rich Moore, chief scientific officer, told In Sequence that the deal is just one part of OpGen's overall strategy to move its assembly, analysis, and mapping informatics to the cloud.

In-Q-Tel is specifically interested in microbial genome mapping, said Moore, and is funding much of the development of moving the informatics aspects of the pipeline to the cloud. The pipeline for mid-size and larger genomes will follow, and Moore said OpGen would look for additional partnerships in those areas.

"Our goal is to produce an automated pipeline available in the cloud for sequence finishing," he said, adding that the pipeline would include "assembly of the reads, whole-genome map assembly, and the combination of those two for sequence improvement and final finishing for reference and validation."

OpGen currently sells its Argus Whole-Genome Mapping System as a standalone product and also offers whole-genome mapping as a service. In February, the company said that it was increasing its focus on its services business (IS 2/28/2012), and the movement of its bioinformatics pipeline to the cloud is another step in that direction, said Moore.

"Service is really important to our business," Moore said. As the cost of sequencing continues to plummet, more and more researchers have access to sequence data, but not necessarily the bioinformatics expertise, he said.

The cloud-based service will be available both for customers who own the Argus system as well as those who make use of OpGen's mapping services.

Moore said that cloud-based informatics services will enable OpGen to support customers with one or two genomes, as well as customers looking to create maps for many genomes.

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