Startup Spotlight: Eagle Genomics Brings AI to Genomics and Microbiome to Prepare Biology R&D for Data-Driven Era

Date Updated: Tuesday, November 6, 2018

eaglelogoThis post was created by the Microsoft Customer Stories team and was originally posted on https://customers.microsoft.com

Eagle Genomics is a next-generation life sciences R&D-enablement company. We work at the intersection of life science and data science because we recognize that biology in the twenty-first century will become fundamentally a data science. And we are ready for that game-changing transition. We’ve built a platform, the e[automateddatascientist] (ADS), to equip this era’s scientists to perform collaborative data-driven biological experiments—exploratory data analysis at scale—in a highly intuitive environment that encompasses genomic and microbiome technologies. Another way to look at ADS is as an AI-augmented knowledge discovery platform that promotes scientific decision making based on enormous datasets.

New life for life sciences

We operate in the market space of the digital reinvention of life sciences. We estimate that this industry will be worth perhaps USD100 billion over the next 10 years and that it will offer high operating profit for such a relatively new area.

To be clear: Eagle Genomics isn’t an IT company. We’re researchers who have a deep understanding of genomics and microbiome technologies, but our staff includes IT experts who understand what it takes to build an enterprise-class software platform. That’s what differentiates us from other players. Our competitors are nearly always IT or data science vendors who don’t understand the biology that our end customers practice.

Intelligent use of intelligent technology

“Eagle Genomics now sells together with Microsoft—a relationship that we comfortably expect to double our revenue in the current financial year.”

- Anthony Finbow: Chief Executive Officer

- Eagle Genomics

When it comes to AI, we don’t want to reinvent the wheel. We harness Microsoft Azure AI research and technologies, Microsoft Cognitive Services, and Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit to develop our platform. We don’t believe that small-scale startups will be the companies that define AI at the foundational level. It’s the big innovators like Microsoft that will clear the AI path for small companies like Eagle Genomics to follow. That gives us the freedom to put AI to work in innovative ways. Our novel (and proprietary) platform enables us to link datasets and data sources (and particular entities of interest within those datasets and sources) to a particular line of inquiry.

We’ve built a matching engine to identify the most useful datasets in the context of the experiments that biological scientists conduct. That is a fundamental shift in ways to navigate big datasets. We’re practical about where we draw upon native Azure AI technology and where we develop our own. And thanks to the Microsoft ScaleUp program (under the umbrella of Microsoft for Startups), we were able to train all of our engineers on the relevant Microsoft technologies.

We’ve been a cloud-first company from inception, long before the scientific community became comfortable with the cloud as an environment for R&D. In our early stages, it made sense for us to work with Amazon Web Services (AWS) for financial and logistical reasons. However, as we see it, AWS fundamentally doesn’t have the same kind of focus on the enterprise that Microsoft does. That focus is our focus. Azure was the obvious alignment to our mission.

Connections to people who influence

Microsoft for Startups has helped us in several ways. For example, our largest customer, a multinational consumer goods business, was already using ADS when we asked the Microsoft team to help us transition the customer to Azure. As part of that process, the Microsoft sales force learned more about how to promote our solutions to large enterprises.

Eagle Genomics now sells together with Microsoft—a relationship that we comfortably expect to double our revenue in the current financial year. Part of this is a consequence of higher sales to our largest account, but we’ve acquired five more customers that we attribute directly to our Microsoft selling arrangement. And we’re confident that we will double revenue again next year because we’re just scratching the surface of what Microsoft-arranged engagements can offer. That is, we’ve only begun to see the benefit of connecting with the right Microsoft account team that, in turn, connects us to enterprise customers. This helps us radically lower the barrier to them.

Additionally, as we shape our company’s value proposition to target more medium-size enterprises, being able to use Azure Marketplace as our shop window provides a spectacular mechanism to engage with them. We can then scale out to transact with these customers as needed.

And finally, our visibility within the investment community is now fundamentally higher. We’re having conversations with investors who want to know how we will meet the challenges (or opportunities) of the markets we’re targeting. With Microsoft for Startups, we’re better able to give them the confidence they’re looking for.

“We’re confident that we will double revenue again next year because we’re just scratching the surface of what Microsoft-arranged engagements can offer.”

- Anthony Finbow: Chief Executive Officer

- Eagle Genomics

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