According to official definitions of the term, genomics is a branch of biotechnology concerned with applying the techniques of genetics and molecular biology to the genetic mapping and DNA sequencing of sets of genes in complete genomes of selected organisms. Results are organized in databases and within special applications of the data.
This branch of biotechnology has evolved on very particular grounds, as the costs involving processes are enormous and all necessary technology is extremely expensive to allow mass development.
According to a recent announcement, Illumina and other private equity firms, namely Warburg Pincus and Sutter Hill Ventures have announced today that they have formed a consumer genomics firm known as Helix, which has already received investment promises of more than $100 million.
Consumers will thus have the chance to have access to an entire marketplace of applications provided by Helix partners in order to have a more comprehensive insight on the entire variety of genomic data. Helix is designed to provide affordable sequencing and database services for consumer samples obtained through third party partners.
Converting genetic information to digital data stored in the cloud makes Helix able to both develop and deliver premium genomic products to consumers, saving them the burden of developing their own database infrastructure.
“Helix and its founding investors are committed to creating a neutral platform at the highest quality standard that will work with partners to accelerate consumer adoption of genomics.”
Our DNA structures are the most complex dimensions of information we are designed with and having the chance to unlock certain DNA traits could help us better understand a large variety of processes and genetic shortcomings that could help us more efficiently manage our health levels and our view over ourselves, from a “technical” point of view.
Helix will develop one of the world’s most complex next-generation sequencing labs along with an extremely secure and protected database. Individuals will be able to control the way their data is being accessed through an extremely well organized, robust and granular consent process. The company will also make all the necessary efforts to make sure that the information will be communicated to consumers in a highly responsible and ethical manner. The future of genomics, designed by Helix will unfold soon.
Helix’s first batch of partners include the Center for Individualized Medicine at Mayo Clinic, ready to collaborate with Helix in order to create applications focused on consumer education and health-related questions.
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