The early genomics pioneers awakened the biopharma industry to the value of capturing and using data to drive drug development. But both the pioneers and those who have followed agree the industry still has far to go to harness the power of big data.

Human Genome Sciences Inc. was the last of the independent first-generation genomics companies. Having raised $3.9 billion since its inception in 1992, it was acquired last month by GlaxoSmithKline plc for $2.9 billion. HGS and its peers believed analyzing human sequence data would unleash a wave of new cures. But it turned out everyone was naïve about the complex nature of diseases, and the fount of cures never materialized.