Genomenon and Saphetor Announce Collaboration to Share Genomic Data

Genomenon, a University of Michigan spinout that has created a search engine for genomics literature, this week announced a collaboration with Saphetor, a Swiss company that offers precision medicine analysis. Genomenon CEO Mike Klein says the partnership broadens the productivity of each company’s platform and benefits their users.

Last year, Genomenon went live with Mastermind, a search engine that combs through millions of publicly available medical journal articles to connect a patient’s genomic data with the latest scientific literature, simplifying the diagnostic process. Saphetor maintains VarSome, a gene and variant database with 47,000 users worldwide and more than 33 billion data points.

As part of the arrangement, Mastermind’s search results will include a link to VarSome for additional information. Likewise, VarSome users researching genes and variants will see Mastermind links to the relevant literature. (All VarSome users will have free access to Mastermind, Klein says.)

Klein met the Saphetor team at a trade show last October, where Genomenon was unveiling the free version of Mastermind. Because each company is benefitting from the partnership, no money is exchanging hands, he adds.

Klein says Genomenon has 600 users in 25 countries, and he’d like to increase that number tenfold by the end of 2018. Klein also anticipates the need to raise capital mid-year as Mastermind grows.

“I’m surprised by how much we’re getting picked up internationally,” he says, although he contends the massive amount of data and the bottleneck it creates for researchers is a real challenge in precision medicine. Tools like Mastermind and VarSome help clinicians blaze a path through all that genomic data, and Klein is bullish about the future of the industry.

“In 10 years, you’ll go in for a blood test and they’ll be able to catch stage-zero cancer,” he predicts.

Sarah Schmid Stevenson is the editor of Xconomy Detroit/Ann Arbor. You can reach her at 313-570-9823 or sschmid@xconomy.com. Follow @XconomyDET_AA

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