The Next Chapter of Golden Helix: Our Launch of SVS 8

         March 11, 2014

Today is a big day for us. Today we are announcing a major release of our flagship product, SNP & Variation Suite (SVS), to the general public. SVS 8 is a substantial improvement over the previous release in a number of dimensions (see detailed discussion on our What’s New page).

We’ve come a long way.

Over five years ago, in November 2008, we introduced SVS 7 as a powerful tool to conduct next-generation sequencing and GWAS studies. Since then, we have been adopted by hundreds of client organizations worldwide. SVS is being used by leading research organizations in the US, Canada, Latin America, Asia, Australia, Africa, and Europe.

About one and a half years ago, we launched the first version of our free, standalone genome browser. This tool was designed to help researchers view large sequencing files alongside public annotation databases in a fluid and intuitive way. Over 2,500 researchers in our field are using GenomeBrowse today.

As customers have seen the intuitive way GenomeBrowse allows them to navigate through extensive databases and large amount of data, we have been asked to bring the same visualization look and feel to SVS (which is the biggest change for SVS 8). This becomes increasingly important as SVS is adopted outside of our traditional audience.

Our primary users are researchers who analyze human, plant, or animal DNA to study diseases and traits. Our software is also used in clinical settings where scientists are working hand-in-hand with their clinical counterparts to use genomic information to diagnose diseases and identify best treatment options for their patients. In addition, we see a third group of users becoming increasingly important: undergrads and graduate students who are learning how to conduct analytics work. Here, the ease-of-use of our platform reduces the initial hurdle to enter the field. It eliminates the need for a student to become a biostatistics whiz before they can begin analyzing data and focusing on the science behind it.

Another major topic that we addressed in this release is scalability. As sequencing technology has become cheaper, there is more and more data waiting to be analyzed. The number of samples in studies is constantly increasing. The idea of SVS is that we put a big punch in a small package. SVS users can conduct most of their work leveraging small servers or even their desktop. This means that Golden Helix has to work hard to make the ins and outs of SVS as scalable and as efficient as possible. Over the last few years, we have reinvented several core capabilities of SVS. For example, we substantially improved how we represent and manage data, simplified the import of data, and improved all kinds of data manipulation capabilities.

How we add value
As we improved SVS and its global adoption increased, our company has matured as well. With hundreds of SVS users and thousands of GenomeBrowse users globally, we learned a thing or two about why we are successful in this field.

  • Company
    • Reputation – Over the years we have became well known for quality products, excellent customer service, and domain expertise in the industry. Leading research organizations worldwide, the US government, and a large number of private companies trust us.
    • Experience – We have been developing software in the field for over 15 years and have a wide range of talented experts on staff, including biostatisticians, statistical geneticists, mathematicians and software engineers. We are committed to putting the customer first and ensuring their research is successful.
    • Trust – We don’t just sell products. We seek to understand our customers and their needs, becoming trusted advisers.
  • Focus
    • Industry Expertise – Our services department has completed dozens of research projects for customers – we understand real-world research obstacles and how to overcome them.
    • Thought Leadership – By attending conferences in our industry – and speaking at or leading roundtables at those conferences – we track the pulse of the industry.
    • Community – We provide a community of support with the ability to learn best practices from other researchers and share knowledge with peers. We sponsor events that help to further advance genomic research.
  • Product/Solution
    • Technology – SVS is an integrated collection of proven methods to manage, analyze, and visualize your data. It’s a big punch in a small package. Our customers don’t need to purchase sophisticated hardware. Most of our clients leverage standard desktop computers or small servers.
    • Acceleration of innovation – Having all the functions in one software package accelerates the research process. We eliminate the need to work with a biostatistics core with prolonged turnaround times. Our clients can get results very often within hours and minutes. This means they can leverage insights quicker to complete their research, get published, or obtain grants. Golden Helix is a decisive edge in today’s competitive research environment.
    • Transparency – All major methods and algorithms are documented (including the math, use cases, and article citations). We completely shunned the “black box” model. We are not aware of another commercial competitor whose methods are as transparent as ours.
    • Expandable platform – We developed a plethora of specialized scripts to make your work with our products expandable. These can be downloaded on our website at no cost.
    • Species agnostic – Our product works with all diploid organisms: human, plants, and animals.
    • Global adoption: We have a truly global reach. Our products are used on all continents except Antarctica (if you are in Antarctica and could use our software, give us a call!). This gives us a broad understanding of all the different use cases that we leverage to improve our products.
  • Service
    • Support Team – We have a team of experts available to provide the resources needed to help researchers complete their analysis. For example, we are available to help our clients after they purchase our product, with everything from importing data to ensuring data quality. We understand the ecosystem of our clients.
    • Responsiveness – We know that time is of the essence. We strive for same business day turn around when contacting our support team.
    • Training – We have a team of experts available to provide personalized training for new and existing users.
    • Customization – We can rapidly customize the software to automate individual specific workflows for researcher’s individual needs.

Again, this is an exciting day for us. In releasing SVS 8 we have achieved a major milestone as a company. And we want to accelerate from here. Please feel free to check out our new release and attend our webcasts as we have put together exciting content offerings for the rest of the year (more on that to come!). As the CEO of Golden Helix, I’d like to thank our many users for their loyalty, and I welcome everyone interested in learning more about Golden Helix by going to our site, reading our blog, or simply contacting us.

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