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GSK Set to Launch Array-Analysis Software

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GlaxoSmithKline will make available an internally developed microarray analysis package to the public for free, and in so doing will apparently become the first pharma to take such a step.

The decision is in stark contrast to strategies at other big pharmas, which have developed their own LIMS or analysis software for strictly internal R&D — a strategy that frustrates some academic researchers who desire that this kind of software be made open-source.

Kejun Liu, a senior statistician at GSK, says the company planned to release a final version of its PowerArray data analysis and visualization tool to the public late last month. A rudimentary version of the system was previously available online, but Liu says that GSK needed to finish testing and documenting the system before the official first version was posted.

Liu described PowerArray as an “integrated analysis environment for high-dimensional data analysis and high-dimensional visualization.” The system accepts data from a variety of sources, Liu says, including Affymetrix .cel files, raw data from proteomics platforms, and others.

Although the PowerArray system comes with features specific to the Affymetrix platform, like the ability to “take .cel files directly and view .cel images,” Liu says that analysis and visualization could be done with data from any platform.

Liu says that although PowerArray is a free tool, it could possibly compete against rival commercial platforms such as Spotfire and others. Despite this suggestion, Liu says it is unlikely that GSK will derive revenue from the product anytime soon. Distributing array data analysis software for profit is not among his employer’s priorities, and the software is co-owned by Liu, NISS, and GSK, which makes decision-making more difficult.

— Justin Petrone

 

Quiatech, Asper Biotech, Fermentas, the University of Frankfurt, Tartu University, and Silex Microsystems comprise a European research consortium that has received $1.6 million from the EU to develop an array platform for sequencing by synthesis.

 

The FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research will use Rosetta Biosoftware’s Rosetta Resolver system to analyze microarray data submitted through the voluntary genomic data submissions program the agency initiated this year.

 

The Children’s National Medical Center plans to make an analysis tool freely available on the center’s Public Expression Profiling Resource website. Dubbed Power Analysis, the tool will enable researchers to determine how many microarrays will be needed to run a particular experiment.

 

Decision Biomarkers — formerly known as Clinical Microarrays — is preparing to commercialize a fully automated, multiplexed immunoassay system for quantifying protein biomarkers.

 

Norway’s DiaGenic, developer of array-based in vitro diagnostics, will use ABI’s technology to validate a test it is developing for Alzheimer’s disease. To bring the early stage test to market, DiaGenic has partnered with Germany’s IMGM Laboratories.

 

San Diego-based Nanogen is preparing to launch what it calls its flagship product, the NanoChip400 System.

 

 

PATENT WATCH

US Patent 6,936,311. Generation of biomaterial microarrays by laser transfer. Inventors: Bradley Ringeisen, Douglas Chrisey, Alberto Pique, Andrew McGill, David Krizman. Assignee: United States of America. Issued: August 30, 2005.

The patent describes a method for creating a microarray of biomaterial using a source of laser energy, a receiving substrate, and a target substrate. This method uses laser technology to desorb material from the target substrate and deposit it onto the receiving substrate. The composite material is deposited in a microarray of deposited composite material. The method can be used in creating gene recognition arrays.

 

US Patent 6,936,419. Oligomer array with PNA and/or DNA oligomers on a surface. Inventor: Kurt Berlin. Assignee: Epigenomics. Issued: August 30, 2005.

The patent describes an oligomer array with peptide nucleic acid and/or DNA oligomers on a surface where oligomers of between six and 20 monomers or nucleobases each contains at least one sequence of four specific sequences that can be used for the detection of cytosine methylations in genomic DNA.

 

Datapoint

$1.1 million

Approximate total value of three gene-expression service contracts Icoria’s Paradigm Array Labs signed with Duke University, the US Environmental Protection Agency, and an undisclosed biotech company.

 

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