How it began...
On 28th February 1953, the discovery of the double helix marked a milestone in science which ultimately led to the creation of the Human Genome Project, an international research project with the ambitious goal to map all the genes of the human genome to unlock the 'secrets of life'. Since 1953 many hundreds of genomes have been classified, which aids researchers to speed up the R&D processes behind drugs, seeds and other biological products. The application of computational techniques in support of this explosion of genomic research activity resulted in the establishment of the field of bioinformatics.
55 years after the historic double helix breakthrough, Eagle Genomics, named after the pub which hosted the celebrations of the discovery, was founded and now celebrates its 10-year anniversary.
The dawn of a new era
In 2008, amidst the transformative period which followed the completion of the Human Genome Project, 'big data' was hailed as the new frontier for scientific breakthrough.
Eagle founders Abel-Ureta Vidal and Will Spooner, both seasoned bioinformaticians and alumni of the world-renowned European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI), joined forces to create a company that would enable the genomics revolution to be applied outside of research institutions and into the real-world. From its founding in 2008, Eagle Genomics led the field of genomic data management and analysis, including Next Generation Sequencing (NGS), utilising leading-edge cloud technology.
Among the first companies to benefit from Eagle's expertise were global organisations Unilever, Eli Lilly, GSK, Procter & Gamble and MedImmune, to name a few. Eagle's combined services leveraged the latest technologies, supporting its customers to unlock new insight from their genomics data.
From services to product to platform
The invaluable insights gained from Eagle’s approach led to ever-increasing demand and an engagement through the Pistoia Alliance. In 2012, the company took a first step to automate its services into a user-based product. The launch of "ElasticAP" empowered customers to manage their genomics data through web-based software and paved the way for the Eagle platform as it is today.
In 2015, Anthony Finbow joined the company as Executive Chairman and Radouane Oudrhiri as CTO - appointments that would propel the ambitions of the company and product into the enterprise arena. Having both achieved enviable commercial successes at previous tech companies, their bold vision for the product was to 'Automate the Data Scientist', tackling data curation, valuation and analytical challenges in a single platform to radically reduce time to insight. Quality of insight would be drastically improved with wide access to datasets in their correct context, presented to the scientist and relevant stakeholders through market-leading visualisation. The platform also enabled teams to share and compound knowledge - a crucial requirement for enterprise organisations.
Eagle Genomics has always remained at the forefront of genomics technology by placing itself in the heart of the biotech community. Originally based at the Babraham Research Campus in Cambridge, considered to be one of the UK’s leading campus’ to support bioscience enterprise, Eagle was perfectly placed to absorb and influence industry developments in close proximity to cutting-edge academic research and commercial organisations.
In 2016, Eagle was among the first companies to set up home in the vibrant BioData Innovation Centre at the world-famous Wellcome Genome Campus. The move further cemented Eagle’s position at the centre of the industry, as it joined the renowned research institutions and ambitious start-ups looking to shape the next generation of biotech within healthcare and industry.
Since 2014, different modules of the Eagle Genomics platform were recognised as ‘Best of Show’ Finalists for three consecutive years at BioIT World, the leading industry event in Boston, MA. In 2016, the e[discover] module, a unique conversational knowledge discovery graph, won the coveted 'Best of Show' prize.
In 2018, Eagle Genomics was a winner at Red Herring Europe Top 100, recognising Europe's leading private companies and celebrating innovations and technologies across multiple industries.
Leaders in innovation
Eagle Genomics has been a leader in innovation through ground-breaking research undertaken both independently and in collaboration with leading institutions.
In 2017, Eagle was awarded a £600k grant as part of the UK Government's Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, created to help meet the 'major industrial and societal challenges of our time'. The funding was awarded to support Eagle's commitment to radically reduce time to insight through the development of a value-driven semantic enrichment system.
In the same year, Eagle and the Stratified Medicine Scotland Innovation Centre were jointly awarded a further £1.7M grant from Innovate UK for a ground-breaking project that could help develop new tests and treatments for patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
The future's bright
Now at a very exciting stage in its evolution, the future looks bright for Eagle. In 2018 it was announced as one of 12 companies selected from 300 to be part of Cohort 9 of the Microsoft ScaleUp program, a global Microsoft initiative recognising the most promising scale-up stage companies in the UK. As part of the program, Microsoft provides technical and business resources, strategy advice and market expansion tools, and most notably, co-sell opportunities within the global Microsoft customer network.
The ScaleUp program has also provided Eagle with a new London base in the fast-paced and vibrant Shoreditch district. With locations in Cambridge and London, the company is now perfectly positioned at the intersection of pioneering science and technology.
Eagle has also recently entered into a partnership with Microsoft Genomics, a division of Microsoft dedicated to meeting the computational challenges of the genomic era. This comes at a time when the Eagle platform has diversified to incorporate multi-omics capabilities, particularly focusing on the exciting possibilities of the next revolution in healthcare and biotech - the microbiome. Significantly, Eagle Genomics are the only Microsoft partner providing solutions in this new frontier of research.
Eagle now looks forward to the next ten years and beyond, continuing to enable the digital reinvention of life sciences and remaining at the forefront of discovery.