Recorded: 08 May 2008
My background is in computer science and I came over in ’95  from Germany with a computer science background. Got involved very early in the Human Genome Project. And I was excited about having the opportunity to apply computer methods to the human genome. So I have a background in analyzing human genome data for many, many years. Played a lot of role in the Human Genome Project, had a company at the time. And then in 2000 I left [and went] back to France. I got my Ph.D. with Gerry Rubin in Berkeley, and then started a company called Omicia, 5 years ago now.
Whole Genome Analysis: Starting Omicia, Inc.
And the idea of Omicia was to build an informatics system so that we can analyze genetic profiles and ultimately whole genomes. So it was very exciting last year when we got Jim’s [James D. Watson] genome out on the public domain, and we could actually apply our methods, our data centers that we had built at my company, Omicia, and analyze Jim’s genome.
Omicia, we’re a personalized medicine company. And what we’re doing is we’re trying to interpret data from the research area. And we’re trying to make it accessible, usable for clinical people, for doctors. Also for individuals so they can learn about their predisposition, and they can act on it and they can do something about it. That’s really what we do. And our real area of focus is the data interpretation. So a lot of things are researched and we’re really focusing a lot on translating this over for clinical use.
Narrator: How did you get this name?
Omicia - we had all the proteomes, genomes, rnaomes, all these “omes.” So we decided we liked the “om” ones, so we used “om” at the beginning. So we had omica. Omica in latin means all. So this was a good match. We didn’t want to have anything from pharmaceuticals or anything. And then we added an ‘i’, because Omica was taken on the internet. So that’s how we came up with Omicia. And it’s a very neutral name. And it really is about analyzing everything we know molecularly and the idea is, again, for usage in the clinical settings.
Martin Reese is the Co-founder, Chief Executive Officer, and Chairman of the Board of Omicia.
Dr. Martin Reese is an internationally recognized expert in medical informatics and bioinformatics with a track record of bringing strong, grounded scientific knowledge to the corporate sector. Prior to founding Omicia, Dr. Reese served as Vice President of Discovery Informatics for ValiGen. He organized the state-of-the-art Genome Annotation Assessment Project and was a member of the Berkeley Drosophila Genome Project. This project provided the essential proof-of-concept platform for Celera's famous shotgun sequencing technology, which is now internationally recognized - as driving a new standard of excellence in sequencing. It was while at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories that Dr. Reese developed gene-finding algorithms for the Human Genome Project. He holds a Masters degree in Medical Informatics from the University of Heidelberg and a Ph.D. in Genetics jointly from the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Hohenheim, Germany.