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NextCODE Health Launches Operations with Exclusive License to Leverage deCODE genetics' Genomics Platform for Sequence-Based Clinical Diagnostics, and $15 Million in Venture Financing

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Oct. 23, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- NextCODE Health, a new private company enabling accelerated diagnosis of genetic diseases through the use of sequence data, announced today that it has secured an exclusive license for sequence-based clinical diagnostic applications using technology developed by deCODE genetics. The company also secured $15 million in Series A financing from Polaris Partners and ARCH Venture Partners, which will allow NextCODE to rapidly scale the integration of its genomics services into clinical settings.

NextCODE will hold a five-year exclusive license to use the genomics platform developed by deCODE genetics—including IT infrastructure and data analysis capabilities—for sequence-based clinical diagnostic applications . Refined over more than 16 years, the platform is the first system shown to be capable of analyzing individual genomes on a significant scale and has successfully managed nearly half a million genomes and resulted in the publication of more than 350 major peer-reviewed studies and discoveries in scientific and medical journals.

Hannes Smarason, who served as CFO and executive vice president of business and finance of deCODE genetics between 1997 and 2004, has been named CEO of NextCODE. He is joined by deCODE genetics co-founder and former chief scientific officer Jeff Gulcher, M.D., Ph.D., who will serve as president and chief scientific officer of the new company. 

NextCODE is now working with physicians and geneticists to accelerate and expand their ability to diagnose patients through the rapid identification of causative genes and mutations. The company is already generating revenue through service agreements with multiple clinical centers, including Queensland University (Australia), Boston Children's Hospital (U.S.), Newcastle University (U.K.) and Saitama University (Japan). 

"Our vision is to transform patient diagnosis and resultant care through the rapid and accurate use of genome sequence data, and we are deploying the most powerful tools ever developed to make this vision a reality," said Smarason. "These tools will enable us to provide clinically relevant insights to physicians and geneticists with unrivaled speed and accuracy. We are proud to build on deCODE's legacy of discovery as we deliver capabilities needed to meet the urgent needs of patients and physicians today."

Genomics data generated by next generation sequencing technologies have become increasingly important to many aspects of healthcare, from diagnosing disease to defining patients' risk for specific illnesses and selecting the most effective treatments for an individual patient. However, the widespread application of genomics data in clinical care is hindered by the need to systematically manage and evaluate massive volumes of big data that are required to filter out false positives, detect high-impact variants and provide an accurate diagnosis. 

NextCODE will leverage deCODE's Genomic Ordered Relational (GOR) database infrastructure and sequence analysis systems, and will continue to develop these systems for specific needs associated with clinical research and care. Analysis will be supported by access to deCODE's substantial, proprietary knowledge base that includes more than 40 million validated variants, representing the world's largest collection of genetic variants paired with clinical data. This technology solution will enable NextCODE's customers to manage and successfully analyze genomics data at a large scale without investing in a substantial IT infrastructure.

The NextCODE Solution
NextCODE offers a fully integrated, end-to-end solution to incorporate sequence data into clinical diagnostic applications. The company accepts legacy sequence data from customers, as well as offering clinical sequencing services through a CLIA-certified laboratory. Raw sequence data is run through a pipeline that combines the GOR infrastructure, access to deCODE's substantial knowledge base including public and proprietary reference sequence data, and systems for genome analysis and interpretation. NextCODE's Clinical Sequence Analyzer (CSA) facilitates rapid confirmation of mutations through visualization of raw sequence data in real time, providing greater transparency than existing systems and enabling users to validate their findings with speed and confidence. This clinically intuitive interface enables users to quickly identify and confirm possible mutations, collect disease-causing mutations into a custom database, and generate printable summary reports for physicians.

NextCODE Leadership
The company's leadership team participated in developing the technology platform during their time at deCODE, and bring deep knowledge of its capabilities to advance the use of genomics data in clinical settings. Hannes Smarason, CEO, previously served as CFO and executive vice president of business and finance at deCODE (1997–2004). Jeff Gulcher, M.D., Ph.D., president and chief scientific officer, was co-founder of deCODE in 1996 and served as vice president for research and development as the company achieved worldwide recognition as a global leader in analyzing and understanding the human genome. Dr. Gulcher was named deCODE's chief scientific officer in 2003.

Mr. Smarason and Dr. Gulcher are joined by Daniel C. Siu, vice president of worldwide sales and marketing.  Mr. Siu brings 24 years of business experience to NextCODE and previously served as a managing director at deCODE responsible for the genomics service and genetic test business in North America and Asia Pacific from 2005 to 2011.

Current Partners
NextCODE Health also announced their first collaborations and new initiatives with leading medical centers across the globe. The new partnerships, which focus on clinical diagnostics in oncology and pediatrics, include:

  • Boston Children's Hospital—NextCODE Health is collaborating with the Molecular Core Facility at Boston Children's Hospital to offer advanced data analysis, genome interpretation, and clinical data management to over sixty affiliated principal and physician investigators from the Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Dana Farber Cancer Institute.
  • Newcastle University—NextCODE Health is supporting the Institute of Genetic Medicine at Newcastle University to accelerate its diagnostic efforts using exome sequencing approaches. Researchers using the CSA are able to analyze exome data in minutes without needing significant bioinformatics knowledge. 
  • Queensland Institute of Medical Research—NextCODE Health is providing Queensland Institute of Medical Research, one of the largest genetic research institutions in Australia, with technology to support ongoing exome-based studies in oncology and other indications, facilitating rapid and accurate diagnosis.
  • Saitama University—NextCODE Health is supporting clinical diagnostic initiatives in Asian and other non-Caucasian pediatric and oncology patient populations. Our extensive set of reference data has corroborated preliminary findings obtained by bioinformatics teams at Saitama, and has been useful in identifying high-impact mutations that may potentially be usefully in diagnosing and treating patient populations in Japan.

About NextCODE Health
NextCODE Health is a private company that was founded to enable sequence-based clinical diagnosis and bring the full power of genomics to everyday patient care. Our solution combines the only sequence analysis platform that has demonstrated scalability to hundreds of thousands of patients with access to the largest and most successful clinical genetics reference database in the world. Using our platform, physicians and geneticists can use sequence data for clinical diagnostic applications to generate diagnosis of diseases faster and more accurately by quickly identifying and confirming the causative genes and mutations. To learn more, visit

Contact: Jessica Rowlands
Phone: 202-729-4089

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