Clinical OMICS

JAN-FEB 2017

Healthcare magazine for research scientists, labs, pathologists, hospitals, cancer centers, physicians and biopharma companies providing news articles, expert interviews and videos about molecular diagnostics in precision medicine

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www.clinicalomics.com January/February 2017 Clinical OMICs 27 sequencing data has concomitantly exploded, presenting challenges in how to store and effectively analyze the grow- ing mountain of genomic data. According to Bryan Spielman, EVP of strategy and corpo- rate development with biomedical data analysis company Seven Bridges, the pace of change has made even signifi- cant infrastructure investments in on-premises computing capacity inadequate. To provide a sense of the scale of data being generated, Spielman notes that the genomic data of 11,000 people currently housed in The Cancer Genome Atlas (NIH-funded) weighs in at more than 1.5 petabytes. "I was speaking with someone at a top-five pharma com- pany, and 1.5 petabytes is 50% of the storage capacity of their own, on-premises, high-performance computing clus- ter," he says. In an era when a major undertaking in the U.K. promises to sequence 100,000 genomes and there are both public and private projects that aim to sequence 1 million genomes, it becomes clear that new thinking and strategies for how to manage and leverage the data are needed. Into the Cloud As the cost of sequencing has dropped and adoption con- tinues to grow, the move to cloud computing was almost a necessity for the most active sequencing operations. In tes- timony to the U.S. Congress in the summer of 2014, human genome pioneer J. Craig Venter cited two major develop- ments that had allowed him to start his precision medicine company Human Longevity: the cost of sequencing pass- ing an affordability threshold, and the ability to move the sequencing data it generated to the cloud. "We are going to rely very heavily on cloud computing, not only to house this massive database, but to be able to use it internationally," Venter testified regarding the then-fledg- ling company. He went on to describe how even with a dedi- cated, fiberoptic network the data moved so slowly between his company in La Jolla, CA, and his non-profit genomic research entity the J. Craig Venter Institute in Rockville, MD, that they would routinely ship data on hard disks via FedEx between locations. "The use of the cloud is the entire future of this field," he concluded. Another significant factor speeding adoption of cloud computing comes when an organization's on-premises capability can't keep up with the speed and data demands of NGS, says David Shaywitz, M.D., Ph.D., CMO of cloud- based genome informatics and data management company DNAnexus. "People would say to me 'we have an over- As the volume of sequencing data continues to skyrocket, large research organizations, and individual researches alike will continue to turn to cloud computing for secure handling of their genomic data. (continued on next page) Maxiphoto / Getty Images

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