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Celera Signs Deal with Virtual Genetics to Add Literature Searching to CDS

NEW YORK, Oct 8. - Celera Genomics has signed a non-exclusive license for Virtual Genetics’ Virtual Adapt bioinformatics text-mining technology, Virtual Genetics said on Monday.

Celera intends to integrate Virtual Adapt into the Celera Discovery System to enable CDS users to mine biomedical literature for relevant information.

Jack Robinson, managing director of Stockholm, Sweden-based Virtual Genetics Laboratory, said that the contract with Celera provides initially for the integration and customization of Virtual Adapt into the CDS for searching through MedLine and “through other databases in the future.”

Virtual Adapt is based on similarity searching, which uses a number of statistical models to pull relevant information out of text. “Most of our competitors do not have that kind of advanced similarity searching complemented with classification and annotation tools, and certainly not at the speed that we can do it,” said Robinson. “I think we’re ahead of the game.”

Celera’s director of internet technology, Raymond Cyrus, said that the company considered other text-mining vendors but chose Virtual Genetics “because they have a lot of experts on staff that understand the biological space.”

Cyrus said the work with Virtual Genetics is the initial step of a three-phase effort to create a “complete literature package.” The ultimate goal, Cyrus said, will be the creation of derivative products that summarize the most salient facts within relevant journal articles. Celera is currently in the process of integrating each of the new features within CDS.

The value of this order to Virtual Genetics, about $400,000, includes professional services and support, but Robinson said that the benefits the company will see by having its product integrated into CDS will be far more valuable in the long run. 

“We’re a small company—only 20 people—so this is a very important contract for us,” he said.

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