Watershed Informatics: The First Omics Bench for Modern Researchers

April 9, 2023

Ever since the first human genome was sequenced three decades ago, scientists have hoped to leverage genomics, and more recently, multi-omics data, for building the next generation of precision medicines. The phenomenal growth of high throughput lab instrumentation, AI-powered analytics, and cloud computing have provided an unprecedented amount of data and detail for understanding the molecular underpinnings of human health and disease…but barring a few notable exceptions, have yet to deliver on their promise. Why? 

It’s not a lack of tooling. The building blocks needed for developing targeted therapies exist today, but are fragmented, fragile, and non-intuitive—up to 70% of a biopharma R&D team’s time is spent cobbling together the hardware and software required for extracting clinically relevant insights from large scale omics data. Most R&D teams lack the time and resources to even try to tackle such integration challenges, and for groups who can afford such a luxury, they still often get it wrong. 

Several approaches have been tried over the years. No-code solutions, although easy to use, don’t provide the customizability required for doing actual science–iteratively course-correcting an analysis to discover unexpected insights across datasets. Standard cloud providers have flexibility at scale, but scientists lack the devops and sys admin expertise needed to access and configure them, let alone use them securely and efficiently. Bioinformatics consultants can create sophisticated custom analyses, but come with lengthy timelines and at great expense. 

We founded Watershed in 2019 to address the unsolved high-performance computing, user interface, and bioinformatics challenges currently preventing scientists from going from sample to therapeutic insight in an afternoon instead of a month. Our flagship product, Omics Bench, brings together these disparate tools into one unified ecosystem on the cloud, empowering scientists to transform today’s fragmented data into tomorrow’s precision medicines. Omics Bench enables all researchers—regardless of their ability to code—to independently create, customize, and share the workflows driving modern drug discovery, such as whole-genome sequencing, single-cell and spatial transcriptomics, epigenomics, proteomics, metabolomics, microbial sequencing, high-content imaging, and protein-folding. 

We’ve now helped hundreds of scientists across dozens of life sciences organizations connect the pieces of their omics puzzles. For instance, SalioGen Therapeutics, an innovator in the gene therapy space, needed a comprehensive multi-omics on- and off-target profiling solution to characterize their gene editing technology. Our platform unified SalioGen’s lab data, cloud computing, and bioinformatics toolkit, empowering everyone across their R&D team to generate the interactive visualizations they needed to truly understand their data. In the words of Oleg Iartchouk, PhD, VP of Genomics and Biomarkers at SalioGen: “Watershed’s Omics Bench really is the end-to-end flexible solution every R&D team needs. If it involves big data and biology, their platform and format of results delivery are the clear winner for realizing the value of big data in biotech.” 

As highlighted by Dr. Iartchouk, Watershed uniquely connects biologists and bioinformaticians to their data, and drives effective collaboration across teams with widely varying coding skills. The power of our approach hasn’t gone unnoticed:

  • Customer demand for Omics Bench drove our ARR from  $0 to $1M in the last 12 months alone 
  • Our team doubled in size over the past 2 quarters
  • We successfully closed an over-subscribed $14.5M Series A financing

With this new investment, we can’t wait to further expand our platform’s capabilities, deliver Omics Bench to the scientists that urgently need it, and continue to recruit amazing people to join our growing team. Here’s to empowering scientists to build better drugs faster for the patients who need them the most! 

–Jonathan and Mark, Co-Founders

P.S. If you’re in search of a flexible and scalable informatics platform that can be purpose-fit to your drug discovery program, or want to join a team revolutionizing how scientists discover and create drugs, reach out to us!