Veritas Genetics has acquired Boston-based Curoverse, the computing and bioinformatics company behind the Personal Genome Project (PGP) at Harvard Medical School, and creator of the open-source platform Arvados.
Curoverse software is used by industry leaders such as the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute to manage, process and share petabytes of genomic and biomedical data as well as facilitate AI and machine learning.
The acquisition will expand Veritas' existing relationship with Curoverse and enable the company to increase the production capacity and data management infrastructure of Arvados as well as effectively deploy AI and machine learning on the platform, which is slated to exceed 10 petabytes of genomic data this year.
There are key challenges to truly uncover genetic insights that could lead to disease prevention and individualized treatment. Historically, genomic data has been generated and kept within walled gardens, and it is notoriously non-standardized in the ways it is produced and aggregated. In order to deploy AI and machine learning capabilities to mine such data, the industry needs a standardized method to enable instant, secure access across geographies and organizational boundaries.
"At Veritas, we are building a platform to sequence, and more importantly, interpret hundreds of thousands, and eventually millions, of human genomes per year. This will only be possible by deploying AI and machine learning at scale, which requires data that is produced, stored and managed in a standardized way," explains Mirza Cifric, co-founder and CEO of Veritas. "Curoverse excels at this capability. Working closely together will not only benefit Veritas, but the industry as a whole."
In addition to creating Arvados, the Curoverse team is known for driving foundational contributions to CWL (common workflow language), which has become the standard adopted by many leading institutions for processing and integrating genomic data. The Curoverse data federation model allows different repositories of genomic information to remain in the domain of those that create them while at the same time making them useful for everyone in the community through CWL.
"With this acquisition, Curoverse and Veritas will expand the capabilities of the Arvados platform to benefit our existing customers as well as those in the open-source genomics community," said Ward Vandewege, co-founder and CEO of Curoverse. "Together, we will continue to accelerate wide-scale access to the world's genomic and biomedical data."
As a co-founder and an advisor to both Veritas and Curoverse, genetics pioneer Dr. George Church, said, "There are very few companies in the world that have the expertise and experience of more than a decade in aggregating genomic data and enabling machine learning. I am pleased to see these two teams work even closer together. They not only share a common technological goal but also a commitment to making this invaluable information actionable and accessible."
The Curoverse acquisition was made for an undisclosed amount, and the company will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Veritas Genetics.