Highlights of the American Society for Human Genetics Conference Industry / Exhibits

Article originally published for the Repositive blog.


October 17th-21st

Orange County Convention Center Orlando, Florida

Scientific highlights tend to have extensive coverage. In this blog post we provide an overview of the industry / exhibitors that were part of the American Association of Human Genetics (ASHG) 2017 while representing Repositive.

Method: We took a picture of the exhibitor map and went organisation by organisation classifying them according their products and services. From a total of 234 exhibitors, we came out with the following types of businesses: Academic, Assays, Diagnostics, Health system, Informatics, Instruments, NGO, Other, Platform, Reagents, Sequencing, Therapeutics.

Some organisations may provide more than one type of business/product/service hence why some of them have more than one label. We created a breakdown of the organisation label occurrences, yielding the numbers numbers in the table below. Note that all the percentages do not sum 100% because a company may have more than one type of business (label).

Informatics 48 20%
Diagnostics 47 20%
Assays 40 17%
Instruments 39 17%
Academic 28 12%
Sequencing 17 7%
Therapeutics 11 5%
Reagents 7 3%
Other 5 2%
Health system 4 2%
NGO 4 2%
Platform 2 1%

The figure below shows the numbers in the table above but this time as pie chart proportions of the total number of labels (e.g., Informatics: n=48, etc.):


Based on this table, the most represented type of business is ‘Informatics’, closely followed by ‘Assays’ and ‘Diagnostics’. Diagnostic businesses may contain both wet and dry lab aspects, the same as therapeutics. I find it remarkable the number of diagnostic testing companies represented. We have the most famous ones, such as 23andMeColor, etc., but also new kids on the block such as Joe Pickrell’s Gencove. Organisations classified as ‘Diagnostics’ also may include clinically-oriented services, not just consumer genetic testing. It is indeed difficult to classify all these companies under a single label or two. They do nevertheless provide a whole range of different types of diagnostic tests, from liquid biopsies to metabolomes, genomes and microbiomes.

Given the research-oriented flavour of the conference, most big pharma were missing, except those that provide either sequencing instruments or genomic services. This contrasts with more clinically-oriented conferences such as the European Society for Medical Oncology  (ESMO) or its American counterpart (ASCO).

From these numbers we conclude there is a strong informatics flavour for ASHG this year. This is consistent with our expectations, but it is interesting to point out that if we make the distinction between dry lab (i.e., Informatics) and wet lab (Instruments, Sequencing, Assays and Reagents), wet lab industrial research is about three times more represented than dry lab research (wet lab businesses n=150). In other words, exhibitors in ASHG 2017 are predominantly wet lab together with a strong component of informatics companies. The number of publishing businesses present at this ASHG edition also caught me by surprise, there are as many as 14 of them represented, including all major ones such as Springer Nature and Elsevier.

The complete list of organisations analysed for this blog post is available in the PDF file available via this link. All in all, ASHG remains a very relevant gathering of companies for data-driven businesses such as Repositive.

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