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GenomSys Gets CE Mark for MPEG-G Codec Genomic Data Processing Software Suite

NEW YORK – GenomSys said Tuesday that it has gained CE marking for its MPEG-G Codec Suite, a group of software tools for processing genomic data following the MPEG-G genomic data compression standard. The Swiss startup was heavily involved in the development of MPEG-G, the genomics version of the same MPEG associated with the MP3 format for digital audio and the MPEG-4 specification for compressing video files.

The International Organization for Standardization, or ISO, approved MPEG-G in late 2019. Lausanne, Switzerland-based GenomSys, a startup specializing in DNA data processing software, received the CE mark March 31 to sell its software as an in vitro diagnostic medical device.

The firm said that MPEG-G opens up new possibilities for genomic data because of the standard's ability to compress data accurately. Among other things, MPEG-G promises to enable individuals to access genomic data and other aspects of personalized medicine on their mobile devices.

Claudio Alberti, chief technology officer and cofounder of GenomSys, previously told GenomeWeb that with MPEG-G compression, an exome sequence needs just 1.5 GB of storage, making it easily fit on a smartphone. He said that a whole genome might take up 10 to 15 GB, though current iterations of the GenomSys software have not attempted to process whole genomes yet. 

"Through the MPEG-G format, it is possible to compress a whole-genome file to less than 25 percent of the size of legacy formats, resulting in cost savings for companies," Alberti said in a statement this week.

He also said that the standard accelerates processing time for genomic datasets. "For example, the access of multiple regions of a gene within a whole-genome sequencing dataset takes with MPEG-G only two seconds, compared to minutes for legacy formats," Alberti said.

However, MPEG-G has been met with skepticism by some who believe that the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health is the best standards-setting body for the bioinformatics world. This was the subject of some lively debate at the 2019 Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology and European Conference on Computational Biology conference in Basel, Switzerland, just a few months before ISO formalized the standard.