NEW YORK, Oct 4 – Bioinformatics consultancy firm 3 rd Millennium said Wednesday it has been awarded a $1.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce to develop software for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to help them to integrate and analyze genomic data.
The company, which intends to eventually commercialize the software, plans to focus on shifting the approach to information management from one of lists of “biological objects” to one of networks of biological pathways that tie together gene function and expression, protein interactions, disease models, and responses to therapies, all in the context of the organs, tissues, and cells in which they occur.
“The benefits of this support are potentially enormous, in that it advances a new paradigm for the development of gene-based pharmaceuticals and diagnostics,” said Richard Dweck, president of 3 rd Millennium. " It enables us to validate and accelerate the development of the major technological advances we have been working on so that they can be in widespread use within two years."
Based in Cambridge, Mass., 3 rd Millennium will focus on developing new technologies for handling complex data relationships and “query-by-traversals”– analogous to those used by the World Wide Web.
" This technology will accelerate drug discovery research by enabling the intelligent identification and prioritization of new drug targets and therapies,” said Eric Neumann, vice president of life science informatics at 3 rd Millennium.
In the early stages of work under the grant, 3 rd Millennium will develop the basic information management system for handling real data from model organisms, including the human genome.
The system will then be layered by other interactive components such as database wrappers, pathway model constructors and analyzers, external management of data resources, intelligent, cross-domain querying, visualization tools, simulations engines, and expert system inferencing capabilities that focus on biological cause and effect.
3 rd Millennium, which has 15 employees, plans to collaborate with other companies to develop the software.
The A dvanced Technology Program of the National Institute of Science and Technology at the U.S. Department of Commerce awarded the grant.