CLC bio supplies bioinformatics solution to Sapphire Energy

By Erin Voegele | December 20, 2011

Denmark-based CLC bio, a bioinformatics sequence analysis software provider, recently announced that Sapphire Energy Inc. has installed a custom-made bioinformatics solution from CLC bio in its San Diego-based research center.

“Using sophisticated breeding and selection methods, we're perfecting the efficiency of oil-producing algae, which live mostly on sunlight and carbon dioxide, and improving algae's resistance to disease and its harvest-capability,” said Christopher Yohn, principal scientist at Sapphire Energy. “To meet our development goals, we recognized the need for bioinformatics software. CLC bio has delivered quality custom solutions to automate several critical processes in our R&D workflows.”

According to Lasse Görlitz, CLC bio’s director of communications, the bioinformatics solution his company provides is essentially an enterprise platform for analyzing DNA sequence data. The solution allows scientists to use next generation sequencing to cost-effectively research how various organisms, such as algae strains, perform. The software is organism agnostic. “We simply provide a platform for analyzing the actual data,” Görlitz said. “It’s up to the individual experts at any given company to [determine] what they are looking for, or which traits they are trying to refine or isolate in certain strains [or organisms]. They can use our software to do this very effectively.”

In the past, it took years to try to refine and mix traits from two different strains of a plant. But now, gene sequencing can be used to more efficiently cross breed different strains of a plant to create a superior strain. While advanced gene sequencing methods have made this process  more efficient, the process also results in a huge amount of raw data.

“Once you have a lot of raw data, you need to make sense of that data, and that’s what our software can do,” Görlitz said. “We can do it very fast, and we can also visualize it, which is helpful for [researchers].” While computer programmers were once needed to carry out this type of analysis, Görlitz said that CLC bio’s solution can allow a standard researcher, such as a molecular biologist, to work with the data.

“I'm pleased that we could assist Sapphire Energy in automating their bioinformatics analysis pipeline in time for a large scale-up in their sequencing projects,” stated Cecilie Boysen, senior consulting manager at CLC bio. “It is always exciting to be able to help and work with companies in the renewable energy sector, as this is an area that has a huge potential to shape everyone's future in a positive way.”