Spiral Genetics — a bioinformatics startup focused on sequencing genomic data — announced today that it has been acquired by San Francisco Bay-Area bioinformatics company Omicia for an undisclosed sum.
The two companies know each other well, since they entered into an alliance four years ago at the time that Spiral Genetics raised its $3 million venture round.
Spiral Genetics’ leadership team and the majority of its employees will join Omicia’s new Seattle office as part of its new secondary analysis division, and Spiral Genetics CEO Adina Mangubat will serve as the company’s general manager of secondary analysis.
Mangubat told GeekWire that the acquisition was built around vertically integrating Spiral and Omicia’s complimentary services.
“Together, we offer a complete end-to-end solution,” Mangubat said.
Spiral offers analysis of genomic data that comes directly from a DNA sequencer. Its software processes that raw information and identifies genetic variations in the DNA. Omicia’s software uses that genetic variation data to create reports for doctors and researchers highlighting important variations in the sample.
“We now can handle basically everything as soon as it comes off a sequencer all the way down to doctors’ reports,” said Mangubat. “That is a powerful thing for customers because they don’t have to use multiple vendors, but also because you get to control the quality of the data analysis from the very beginning to the very end.”
Mangubat said the analysis Spiral and Omicia produces can have a huge scope of clinical and academic applications. One example is personalized medicine, examining a patient’s DNA to discover if certain treatments will work better than others.
The tech is also used in cancer research, she said, and in specific clinical settings where comparing genomes can help doctors diagnose or treat patients, like treating rare childhood diseases.
Omicia was founded in 2009, and currently has offices in London, Salt Lake City, and Boston, in addition to its new Seattle office. The company’s Opal platform provides reports on genetic analysis of patient samples. It has been well funded, raising a $23 million Series B round in June of last year.
Omicia CEO Matt Tindall said Spiral’s unique graph-based technology is one of the reasons the company was excited to pursue the acquisition.
Spiral’s tech is different from other services on the market in two important ways: first, it is able to effectively analyze genomic data from a large group of individuals and identify genetic variations among the group.
Tindall said this is helpful in situations like population studies or clinical trials that include large groups of patients. Omicia is currently taking part in Genomics England, a population study that hopes to catalog 100,000 genomes to advance personalized medicine, and
Spiral’s approach can also more effectively examine structural variations in DNA — large-scale structural differences that most tests are not able to identify.
“This has been my baby for a long time and I’m really excited that it’s going to journey forth with somebody else that’s totally awesome in their own right,” Mangubat said. “And together I think we’re really well positioned to make an extraordinary contribution and impact on health care, and that’s really what I’ve been after since the beginning.”