A team of venture capitalists has launched NextCODE Health to provide a diagnostics service to researchers—and, later, physicians providing routine care—by tapping into the genomics platform developed by deCODE Genetics. Arch Venture Partners of Seattle, and Waltham, Massachusetts–based Polaris Ventures founded NextCODE October 23, inking a 5-year exclusive license to access the platform developed by Reykjavik-based deCODE, the pioneering genetics firm, now a wholly owned Amgen subsidiary. Amgen paid $415 million for deCODE in 2012 to mine the detailed genetic profiling and genealogical data of the Icelandic population for use in discovery research (Nat. Biotechnol. 31, 87–88, 2013). NextCODE will offer genome interpretation, data analysis and next-generation clinical sequencing services to enable researchers and clinicians to more quickly, accurately and cheaply decipher whole-genome sequence data and diagnose conditions. Michael A. Patton, professor of medical genetics at St. George's, University of London, says NextCODE “is competing with many other companies in offering exome sequencing and genomics analysis and may find it difficult to create a commercial market.” Jeff Gulcher, NextCODE's president and CSO and deCODE's co-founder, says that, unlike relational databases, which cannot efficiently handle the trillions of data points associated with even several dozen genomes, NextCODE's sequence analysis platform has been used to successfully manage data from more than 350,000 whole genomes. Additionally, “we have access to the largest and most successful clinical genetics reference database in the world,” he says. NextCODE has already struck service agreements, focusing on oncology and pediatrics, with Queensland University in Brisbane, Australia, Boston Children's Hospital, Newcastle University in the UK and Saitama University in Japan.
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Dorey, E. NextCODE to mine Icelandic genetic wealth. Nat Biotechnol 32, 6 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1038/nbt0114-6a