You may not think of a town in Montana as one of the centers of biotechnology, but Golden Helix proves again and again why they will only grow their impact and influence amongst the Northwest’s rivers and mountains. The software company specializes in NextGen Sequencing DNA software and supporting the creation of clinical reports in the cancer and inherited disease spaces. Their technologies and analytics continue to empower scientists and healthcare professionals to derive meaning from their vast amounts of data. Here is how Golden Helix got here and where they plan on going.
Developing top notch products for over two decades
With a track record of 22 years in the industry, Golden Helix makes a point to consistently assess emerging technologies and their potential to build value-added products. With each new advancement in technology, the company takes the vantage point of the customer to analyze its usability and assess how costs can be driven down.
Part of what sets Golden Helix apart as a biotech company is the way they streamline the diagnostic process and improve sample input while not straying from quality. Their flagship product, VSClinical, conducts the clinical analysis of NGS samples ensuring concordance with applicable guidelines, including the ACMG and AMP guidelines. For their high-end customers, their clinical workflows through VSPipeline give customers advanced automation capabilities. And as their clients’ data processing sizes grow, customers need a way to organize data and build a knowledge base for continuing analysis and ongoing research. Their VSWarehouse product answers this call by enabling users to sift through this data for specific variants or data sets in a shorter amount of time.
Standing out from competition
Golden Helix has been well received in the industry due to their dynamic approach to NGS software and its streamlined application. This approach also sets it apart from industry competitors. Since both cancer and inherited diseases occur in clinical practice frequently, Golden Helix provides their customers both capabilities in one paradigm so there is never a choice of which to focus on.
When it comes to deployment capabilities, they allow for the deployment on premise and in the private cloud. Golden Helix customers can decide which components of the software stack to use behind firewalls versus in a cloud environment.
Similarly, their products scale efficiently with their clients’ varying datasets from small, targets panels to whole genome analysis. Their customer base spans from small start-up labs to nation-wide sequencing projects with significant needs for large scale deployments and short response times.
The company’s business model is centered on a fixed fee to ensure budget certainty for their customers. This enhances their customers profitability as customers ramp up sample volume and avoid additional expenses on the analytics side. As another example of their commitment to the scientific, clinical, and financial success of their customers, Golder Helix hasn’t raised their prices since entering the clinical analytics market, even in this inflationary environment.
A dynamic business driven by values
As the saying goes, a company is only as good as its people. And maintaining a healthy work environment is a top priority for Golden Helix President and CEO Andreas Scherer, PhD. With more work to do than one company and its employees can deliver, Dr. Sherer wants his employees to avoid burnout and to support a stimulating environment for employees.
Along with a high quality of life thanks to the Montana lifestyle, the company provides its employees with the ability to work from home or the office and a generous compensation package. All of these factors add up and have earned the company the title as one of the Best Places to Work in CIO Views.
As another testament to staying in tune with customer needs and wants, Golden Helix has chosen to stay financially independent using a bootstrap approach. They haven’t accepted any funding since an early investment from GSK over twenty years ago. With this commitment to quality and effective products, they’re able to profit in a growing market and satisfy the appetite for innovation and capabilities. The combination of excellence in software development, sales and marketing allows them to build an operationally sound and growing business that competes on a global scale. All of these qualities earned them a placement on the Inc. 5000 list for three years in a row beginning in 2019.
Giving back to the community
By sharing best practices through eBooks on Clinical Variant Analysis, as one example, and by hosting monthly industry webinars, the employees at Golden Helix contribute to the global knowledge base of bioinformatics. They received several grants from the NIH, and Dr. Sherer continues to serve as a reviewer for NIH grant applications from other companies.
On a more local level, the company sponsors various university programs at Montana State in computer science and engineering, and languages and the arts, as well as athletic programs. You can also find employees participating in local conferences and speaking events. The company has put an emphasis on continuing this involvement which enriches their team, community, and the industry as a whole.
With their incredible global customer base in place, Golden Helix plans to expand their footprint in all relevant global markets over the next five years. The company is preparing itself for more regular large-scale deployments as well to equip customers with robust tools that can handle an ever-increasing number of samples in an efficient and accurate way. Their past and current efforts are laser focused to ensure this goal so their customers can scale with the industry. It’s clear from the company’s impact on advancing life science research that Golden Helix will continue to harness the potential of genomics with their innovative solutions.