GenoLogics: Life Science LIMS

Founded in 2001, the Canadian firm GenoLogics is based in Victoria, British Columbia, and develops laboratory information management systems (LIMS). The company’s first product was a LIMS for proteomics that grew out of a collaboration with the University of Victoria Genome BC Proteomics Center. As Tanis McSween, manager of marketing communications, explained, these collaborations gave GenoLogics a sense of the specific information-management needs of a proteomics lab. Proteus, the LIMS that was developed from this early work, was released in 2004. Following the release of Proteus, GenoLogics began work on a genomics LIMS and released the product—Geneus—this year. Both LIMS products are based on GenoLogics’ OMIX, a scalable, modular platform for data management. Geneus offers workflow support for Illumina and Applied Biosystems’ products. GenoLogics announced this month that Geneus now also supports workflows for Affymetrix’s GeneChip platform. In addition, the company produces an enterprise-level version of the OMIX platform, which can manage data from multiple labs. GenoLogics also sells Proteus-Analytics, a jointly produced offering that combines GenoLogics’ Proteus and Proteome Software’s ScaffoldBatch Analysis System to manage and interpret proteomics data. Ms. McSween emphasized the fact that the LIMS that GenoLogics provides are specifically designed for life science applications, stating that “we [GenoLogics] built a LIMS that is purposed for life sciences right out of the box. Our products offer prebuilt, automated integrations for over 30 instruments and other software.” The company also eliminated the typically long setup time involved with LIMS: “We also enable our customers to install and get up and running quickly through the configurability of the base system.” Ms. McSween added that this configurability also allows labs to quickly and inexpensively implement new workflows as their instruments and needs change. Ms. McSween explained that, in order to address the lack of user-friendliness mentioned by LIMS users, GenoLogics consulted with a human-computer interface expert to design an intuitive user experience into their systems. Ms. McSween explained that the company has been successful by developing partnerships with large companies such as Illumina and Affymetrix, but also by “maintaining [an] ‘open data, open systems’ approach [which] enables [GenoLogics] to integrate to all instruments, technology platforms and IT hardware.” Elaborating on this point, Ms. McSween explained that GenoLogics’ LIMS can accept proprietary and standard (.pdf or .txt, for example) file formats, and is capable of launching these file formats within the LIMS software or using the software that runs the instrument that generated the file. GenoLogics’ next LIMS will be designed for systems biology research. According to Ms. McSween, GenoLogics has more than 50 employees and is “growing steadily.” The company conducted rounds of financing in 2005 and 2006, each totaling $5 million. The company’s primary venture capital funders are OVP Venture Partners, Yaletown Venture Partners and GrowthWorks. Roughly 70% of GenoLogics’ sales come from the US, while the remainder of its sales are generated in Europe and Canada.

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