Repositive – One-click access to human genomic data

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Search over million datasets across 30 different data sources!

Credit: Pixabay
Credit: Pixabay

As a researcher in biomedical sciences, the problems in getting sufficient sample size and controls to address research questions and hypothesis isn’t uncommon, especially in the public health and epidemiology domain.

There have been a couple of initiatives to address this issue, one important example being the Framingham heart study.

According to the web page of this study, The Framingham Heart Study was committed to identifying the common factors or characteristics that contribute to cardiovascular disease (CVD). They followed the development of cardiovascular diseases over a long period of time in three generations of participants.

Repositive.io is on a mission to ease the effort of getting the genomic data from the repositories like the Framingham study.

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Image: Repositive.io

I interacted with the team behind the Repositive.io and tried to learn more about this great initiative.

When was the company founded and who are the co-founders?

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Fiona, Co-Founder of Repositive.io

Repositive was founded as a spin-out of the charity DNAdigest that works to promote best practices for efficient and ethical data sharing in genomics research. DNAdigest was founded by Fiona Nielsen in February 2013 in Cambridge, UK. In 2014, Repositive was spun out as a social venture driven by the same impact mission as the charity: building tools to enable data access and collaboration in genomics research. In August 2014, Fiona was joined by Adrian Alexa as co-founder chief technical officer.

Both Fiona and Adrian have backgrounds in bioinformatics and genomics and spent several years working at the sequencing technology giant Illumina before joining forces to pursue the Repositive vision of simplifying access to genomic research data.

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Awesome folks behind Repositive.io

 

What does the company do, what is the product/technology?

Everything Repositive does revolves around facilitating efficient access to genomic data for research. The core Repositive platform is launched in a free public version accessible from http://repositive.io where researchers can search, browse and discover worldwide data sources of genomic data consented for research. The platform lists both public and private data sources and allows users to specify their data requirements to find the data that is most relevant to their research needs.

With our launch of around a million datasets this autumn, Repositive is the fastest and easiest portal for finding data for many types of research, including RNA expression, whole genome sequencing, DNA methylation, microbiome sequencing, epigenetics data and population studies for cancer and genetic diseases. For instance, we have several listings of Chinese control data, i.e. reference genomes from Chinese individuals.

How much are the products/services priced at? How has the response been so far?

The public Repositive platform is priced as a freemium model, meaning that anyone can use the basic platform features such as data searches and community discussions for free. The soon-to-be-launched premium services can be accessed for a subscription price. We also offer our platform as enterprise on-site solution, popular with large corporations, and API accessible Platform-as-a-service, which is ideal for integrating with genomic data analysis tools.

Data providers such as biobanks, repositories, and companies with collections of curated data, use our platform to gain visibility for their data with their target audience. For instance, Horizon Discovery is using Repositive as a data catalogue to showcase the genomic data they have available for their PDX models, as part of a collaborative PDX project we have recently launched with AstraZeneca.

Any buyers/users from different parts of Asia? What is your reach in Asia and other parts of the world?

Overall, we have the most users from UK and US. Thanks to our conference activities in connection with the BGI International Conference of Genomics, we also have active users from China, Hong Kong, India, and Singapore. In 2015, we ran a genomic data access workshop in Hong Kong in collaboration with DNAdigest, GigaScience, and OpenSNP, which proved very popular with the local geneticists. We learned that finding Chinese reference data is difficult, even for Chinese researchers, so we wrote a blog post about various Asian population data and we created a collection of Chinese reference data on the public Repositive platform.

What is the business/revenue model of the company?

We offer services and custom solutions to pharma and biotech companies that are heavy users of both public and commercial genomic data for their pre-clinical research activities supporting their drug discovery pipeline.

We also partner with companies that offer data access to create efficient public data catalogs that maximize their visibility to their target audience via the Repositive platform.

What other streams of revenue do you foresee? What are the future plans for your company?

We will continue to grow the reach and search capabilities of the free Repositive platform to continue to provide the largest portal for finding genomic data for research. In our upcoming roll-out of premium features, we will include fast-track access to browse large data collections and data brokering services to provide our users with fast matches to the most relevant data sources to match their needs. You can sign up as a user to our free platform to be notified of updates and new data collections as they are released.

What are your achievements so far?

Repositive won the Pistoia Alliance President’s Startup Challenge in January 2015 for our platform solution to enable pre-competitive data sharing and easy data access for genomics R&D. Check out our team video contribution here. Since then we have received a tremendous amount of positive feedback from the users testing our beta platform, so we are looking forward to making their work with genomic data even easier with the new data sources and new features that we will be launching this autumn.

Do you have any plans to enter the Asian market or engage in any collaborations?

We are currently engaging with a number of new partners in Asia who are keen to connect on our platform to either shorten their time to find relevant data or to make visible the data they have available to the genomics research community. We are not very familiar with the startup community in India and Asia, so we are looking forward to building these relationships to support the exciting Asian biotech startup ecosystem. In November 2016, you will find us again at the International Conference on Genomics ICG-11 in Shenzhen.

Any advice for biotech/healthcare startups? How has your startup journey been as a founder?

Starting a company is hard. I usually advise people to not start a company unless nothing I say or do can stop them, in which case I will know that they have the tenacity and determined mind needed to make it happen. My best advice is to surround yourself with the skills and attitudes that you need to succeed. Find good mentors and advisers and build your dream team that is excited and driven by your vision. With the right support in place, you can make big things happen.

So, Repositive is a great opportunity to grab some genomic data for your epidemiological research. Go ahead share this great resource with your team and also you can learn more about their latest updates on their blog http://blog.repositive.io/ 

Let us know if you have any questions about Repositive.io in general in the comments section  below.