J Michael Consulting(“JMC”), a leading public health informatics firm, announces it has been awarded a 12-month CDC contract to strengthen emerging, re-emerging, and biothreat infectious disease surveillance, detection, and preparedness across the nation. Bioinformatics support for the project will be powered by BugSeq Bioinformatics (“BugSeq”), an industry-leading bioinformatics company focused on infectious disease. Yahara Software will provide software development and technical support for the project.

Most of today’s biothreat detection and characterization tools take days to produce results such as antimicrobial resistance. When faced with a public health emergency, time is crucial, and having a rapid diagnostic to identify and study a threat can help accelerate a response. Next generation sequencing (NGS) is a promising platform for the development of rapid biothreat laboratory assays. NGS tests can sequence all DNA in a sample and piece together the genome of a pathogen to understand its potential threat.

Building off of the success of a previous award supporting methods development, the LRN program at the CDC commissioned our team, including a renewed partnership with BugSeq and Yahara, to create a solution and supporting materials enabling generation and analysis of biothreat NGS data. The project, valued at $1.1 million, seeks to distribute and pilot NGS-based assays within the Laboratory Response Network (LRN). Once a biothreat agent is identified, the new tool will enable delivery of NGS results, along with sample metadata to CDC for mission-critical decisions.

Chief Executive Officer Jon Lipsky said, “JMC is committed to supporting Public Health by delivering informatics consulting and solutions. Through our strong relationships with the CDC and public health surveillance we have seen first-hand the need in the community for a complete, open-source solution for NGS. We are delighted to have built and now to be piloting these tools to strengthen biothreat detection and response together with BugSeq and Yahara.”

Beginning in 2019, CDC has relied on JMC to drive the development of software to manage, analyze, and visualize NGS data for Advanced Molecular Detection. The solution, LIMS Lite, is an open-source software that the JMC Team developed for CDC.  JMC will lean on partner Yahara for their expertise in software development.

“Yahara Software is proud to continue as part of the JMC team in supporting the CDC’s important mission to improve biothreat detection”, said Kevin Meech, Yahara CEO.

Now powered by BugSeq’s cloud-based analytics, the current engagement will develop documentation, user materials and guidance materials to enable deployment and validation across the LRN. BugSeq’s platform will enable the rapid identification and characterization of pathogens of concern, leveraging their automated analysis and curated databases.

“This project builds off of BugSeq’s industry-leading bioinformatic platform and expertise to enable advanced detection and prevention of infectious disease”, said Sam Chorlton, BugSeq’s CEO.

This project has been supported in whole or in part with federal funds from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under contract number 75D30122C15357.

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