February 23, 2017 | Written by: Kurt Florus, CTO, Bluebee
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The big bottleneck for research centers and clinical labs doing genomic analysis no longer comes from the sequencing itself, but the data analysis.
That’s why labs turn to Bluebee’s cloud-based genomics solution that flexibly and accurately supports scientific projects and patient diagnoses.
Customers can analyze sequenced DNA or RNA data coming from any type of sequencer on Bluebee’s secure, scalable high-performance computing environment. With Bluebee’s accelerated process, next-generation sequencing (NGS) pipelines run orders of magnitude faster than onsite infrastructure without compromising algorithms and methods. This means data can be interpreted faster so patients can be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.
For example, a Bluebee’s client’s cancer diagnostics capabilities are seven times faster than its former process.
Diagnostic test providers and sequencing service providers also count on Bluebee’s cloud-based genomics solution to shorten data analysis turnaround times and to provide a better service to its customers.
Origin and foundation
A spinoff of the Technical University of Delft and the Imperial College in London, Bluebee is based in the Netherlands, with offices in Belgium and Boston. Its genomics platform uses IBM Cloud bare metal servers and IBM Cloud Object Storage, as well as IBM Aspera to get the vast amounts of data in and out of the platform.
Aspera’s high-speed, reliable and resilient transfers contribute to reducing the end-to-end turnaround time of computational data analysis. It also enables Bluebee to comply with the strict security standards within the genomics industry.
Bluebee chose IBM Cloud bare metal servers because IBM offers a “menu” from which the company can specify how much memory, how much CPU and what type of bandwidth it needs for each specific project. This means that Bluebee has the capability to engineer a system that exactly fits the task at hand. Bluebee found that other providers had more of a one-size-fits all approach.
Availability of local data centers was a key factor. Depending on where the customer is based, some regions have regulatory requirements that human genomic information may not leave the region. The Bluebee solution can be deployed in any of the IBM Cloud data centers across the globe, and thus data residency control can be guaranteed to customers who can keep a consolidated overview of their data.
Benefits of cloud-based genomics
With Bluebee’s cloud-based genomics solution, customers don’t have to worry about the capital expenditure incurred by creating and maintaining in-house computer clusters. Customers don’t have to make any upfront investment at all. They pay as they go.
The solution offers the ability to scale, which is important when considering the large samples that come from cancer centers, for example. They typically submit two to three tumor cell samples along with a control sample for each patient, which could mean a total volume of data of more than 360 gigabytes per patient. In some cases, genomics data must be kept for at least five years, and a single genome string can potentially consume up to a terabyte of data.
Innovative technologies and techniques in genetic screening and analytics will enable the introduction of completely new diagnostics and therapies in healthcare. Bluebee believes that its unique combination of in-depth knowledge of the NGS field, high performance computing, clinical grade security, user convenience and cost effectiveness is essential to facilitate these breakthrough therapies.
Read the related cased study. Find out more about other IBM clients who are poised for success using the IBM Cloud as their foundation here.