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Golden Helix: Helping Researchers and Clinicians Understand the Role of CNVs in Human Health and Disease

Founded in 1998, Golden Helix is a global bioinformatics firm. Since foundation, the organization has accumulated a significant customer base and is currently working with more than 350 organizations—with thousands of users leveraging the organizations’ various analytics products. From its early days till the present-day, GlaxoSmithKline has been the largest outside investor of Golden Helix. Till date the organizations’ software has been referenced in more than 1000 publications. The customers of Golden Helix fall into five primary categories: testing labs, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, major research organizations and government organizations.
A Well-known Leader 
Back in 2013 with the objective of leading the business into genetic testing market, Andreas Scherer joined Golden Helix as the President and CEO. While working for organizations like Netscape and AOL as a Global Vice President, Andreas gained much needed valuable insights in running world-wide businesses which require functional know-how in sales, marketing, product development, services and operations. His educational background is centered around Computer Science in which he holds a PhD from the University of Hagen, Germany. Andreas has so far published more than twenty peer reviewed articles, authored books on Neural Networks, Intranets and Project Management. His latest book, “Be Fast Or Be Gone” was a prizewinner in 2012 Eric Hoffer Awards competition. In his private time, Andreas enjoys weightlifting throughout the year. In the winters, he likes to spend time skiing the mountains of Montana and in the summer, you can find him on the golf course.
Empowering End Users to Perform High-End Analytics Work 
Golden Helix’s main goal is to empower their end users to perform high end analytics work. This is achieved by producing software which gives the power of analysis to researchers, supporting them through their analysis, and by providing them with genomic services when the need arises. Golden Helix takes pride in itself for creating software tools that are integrated and robust, but more importantly userfriendly and intuitive. The tools are specifically created in order to empower biologists, clinicians and other researchers to easily perform complex analyses and visualizations, eliminating the need to rely exclusively on bioinformatic experts or cobble together difficult to use, incompatible freeware. This way researchers can completely focus on their research instead of learning to be a programmer or waiting in line for bioinformaticians. The organizations’ support team is motivated by one mission—to make sure that the customers have a great experience with their software tools. From helping to import data, bug detection, and finding technical resources, Golden Helix is fully committed to providing its customers with the resources they need in order to complete their analysis in a world-class manner at a lightning fast pace. The organization doesn’t just stop at support, it also offers comprehensive and personalized training sessions to help researchers jumpstart their research. Golden Helix’s Field Application Scientists and Engineers help researchers by taking them through workflows that are relevant to their specific research.
Ground Breaking Products 
Golden Helix has developed a powerful technology stack that supports a number of products in the genomics space, including the following:

  • VarSeq: VarSeq is an intuitive, integrated software solution for tertiary analysis. With VarSeq you can automate your workflows and analyze variants for gene panels, exomes and whole genomes.
  • VS-CNV: Directly calls CNVs in target regions and avoids the cost and turn-around time of additional CMA or MLPA testing.
  • VSPipeline: Repeatable clinical workflows essential for CLIA and CAP certified analysis, creation of high throughput pipelines and access to curated annotation sources that are updated regularly.
  • VSReports: With VSReports, you can easily convert the output of your tertiary analysis into a customized clinical report. After you’ve filtered down your imported variants, simply select variants to include in the report.
  • VSWarehouse: A scalable, multi-project warehouse for NGS variant call sets, clinical reports and catalogs of variant assessments.
  • SNP & Variation Suite (SVS): SNP & Variation Suite is a powerful analytic tool created specifically to empower biologists and other researchers to easily perform complex analyses and visualizations on genomic and phenotypic data.
  • GenomeBrowse: A powerful tool that delivers stunning visualizations of your genomic data that gives you the power to see what is occurring at each base pair in your samples.

A Different Organization When it comes to client handling and providing support, Golden Helix is a completely different organization from its competitors mainly due to:

  • Pervasiveness: The company has a strong competence building on-premises solutions for the life science space. To date, many labs, hospitals and government organizations prefer to control the IT environment over cloud solutions. However, as the clinical testing space goes mainstream, cloud deployment models are attractive for certain market segments. Golden Helix’s future development plans include a strategy to deploy the Golden Helix stack in a way that customers can pick and choose their preferred deployment model:
  • On Premises: Currently, the main deployment mode for Golden Helix. This continues to be a highly desirable approach as hospitals and testing labs are concerned about hosting patient data outside their premises.
  • Cloud: Certain segments of the market have accepted cloud solutions as viable. The company is extending out technology stack in this direction.
  • Mix Deployment: For certain deployment scenarios, a mixed approach is preferable. For example, in certain scenarios it could make sense to run the analysis and clinical reports pipeline on premises and store all the resulting data in a cloud hosted data warehouse.
  • Internationalization: The US has been a strong market for clinical testing and research analytics products and services. However, selected markets in Europe, Asia and Latin America, as well as Australia and the Middle East are increasingly important. Golden Helix’s mid-term strategy is to increase its local presence in these markets either through partners or directly.
  • Preservation: Golden Helix has a strong customer base with a high renewal rate. Its high rate of customer satisfaction and the stickiness of its solution is one of the reasons why Golden Helix has been highly capital efficient. The organization continues to focus on a highquality customer experience to encourage future renewals.