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‘Personalizing’ NGS tools
KANSAS CITY, Mo.—Cerner Corp. and Cambridge, Mass.-based Claritas Genomics recently announced that they are teaming up to advance personalized medicine by building tools and connectivity that will better integrate next-generation sequencing (NGS)-based diagnostic testing into healthcare practice.
Under the deal, the pair will collaborate to develop a rapid, scalable laboratory solution for molecular diagnostics that is tailored to NGS workflows, which the companies note are more complex and generate much more data than traditional molecular diagnostic tests.
“Cerner has long focused on the power of genomics and its impact to clinical processes, and this relationship will help advance the field and define a meaningful narrative in personalized medicine between the realms of research, diagnostics and clinical practice,” said Dick Flanigan, senior vice president of Cerner, in an official statement. “Claritas’ focus on pediatrics is noteworthy, as that’s when integrating genomics into clinical practice could be particularly impactful.”
Claritas, a clinical diagnostics laboratory that provides genetic testing with a focus on pediatric medicine, will implement Cerner’s Millennium Helix solution as part of the initial phase of the project, and will join Cerner’s Reference Lab Network to allow seamless ordering and results return for other Reference Lab Network partners.
There is also a direct financial link between the collaborators now, given that as part of the relationship, Cerner Capital, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cerner, has invested in Claritas, becoming a minority shareholder and bringing to a close the company’s Series A round. Clay Patterson, managing director of Cerner Capital, has joined Claritas’s board of directors.
Claritas was formed as a spinout of Boston Children's Hospital, with an investment from Life Technologies in February. The company, which combines advanced genetic analysis technology with clinical interpretive services that tap into the expertise of specialists at renowned pediatric hospitals, also was recently joined by Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, and now Cerner, as key investors and network partners.
The collaborative partners believe the relationship with Cerner will enable Claritas “to tap into an existing, scalable computing infrastructure that integrates ordering of genomic sequencing tests, laboratory processing, results interpretation, return of results to the clinician and incorporation of the result in the patient’s electronic medical record (EMR).”
“One of Claritas’s goals is to enable providers at any pediatric center or practice to use genomics in routine medical care,” said Dr. Patrice Milos, CEO of Claritas in the news release about the deal with Cerner. “Effective use of genomics in medicine requires integrating genetic information into the context of the patient’s unique clinical presentation. As a leading provider of both laboratory management systems and EMR systems in the world, Cerner has decades of experience synthesizing complex medical information across organizations to inform patient care, and we are extremely pleased to have them as a strategic partner.”