Edico Genome has partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to assess the performance of its Dragen hardware platform for public health and infectious disease applications.


CDC will particiapte in the partnership through its National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, Office of Advanced Molecular Detection (OAMD).

Dragen is a custom coprocessor platform, which uses field-programmable gate array (FPGA) to offer hardware-accelerated analysis of genomic sequence data.

Currently used for the analysis of human genomes, the Bio-IT processor holds potential to replace or supplement large computational clusters or cloud services that are currently used for microbial genomic and metagenomic analysis.

The partnership will co-develop the databases, configurations and parameters to enhance the hardware platform for microbial applications.

According to Edico, the demand for high-performance computing and bioinformatics capacity has increased with the introduction of next-generation sequencing (NGS) and other high-throughput laboratory technologies.

By increasing the speed and accuracy of NGS data analysis, such as whole genome sequencing, Edico Genome’s computing platform makes it easier to discover links between DNA sequence variations and human disease, Edico said.

In September, Edico Genome has integrated its platform into HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology’s sequencing workflow for fully automated and high speed genomic analysis.

A single Dragen processor can analyze 15,000 human genomes generated by the institute’s HiSeq X Ten sequencing system, manufactured by Illumina.

HudsonAlpha Genomics Service Laboratory director Shawn Levy said: "Dragen’s ability to analyze genomic data rapidly while also reducing costs will enable us to unveil genetic causes of inherited diseases faster, while simultaneously helping advance our understanding of complex genetic disorders.

"Our average time from completing chemistry on the sequencer to a VCF file being available is 40 minutes. Our collaboration has completely transformed the way we process whole-genome data."

Image: Edico Genome’s Dragen Bio-IT processor. Photo: courtesy of Edico Genome.