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Inpharmatica, Celera in Deal to Deliver New Protein Structure Database

LONDON, Nov. 7 - Inpharmatica and Celera Genomics said Wednesday that they had agreed to jointly develop a new database that would offer structural information about the human and mouse proteins contained in the Celera Discovery System.

Under the terms of the deal, Inpharmatica, which currently markets protein structure data through its Biopendium database, said it would use its bioinformatics tools to generate structural information from the human and mouse sequences Celera has decoded.

“We will be spending the next few months incorporating Celera’s proprietary human and mouse data into Biopendium,” said Edith Cookson, director of business development for London-based Inpharmatica.

“Effectively, we will take the sequence data from the Celera Discovery System and put structure-based functional annotation information to that sequence,” Cookson said.

Celera of Rockville, Md., was not immediately available for comment.

The Biopendium database currently contains structural information for 700,000 sequences that Inpharmatica has taken from public databases and processed to date. Cookson said that the Celera Edition Biopendium would contain information on an additional 60,000 proprietary human and mouse sequences.

The new version of Biopendium, which will be known as the Celera Edition Biopendium, is scheduled to be released at the end of the first quarter of 2002. Cookson said that the companies would co-market the product, which will come with an underlying subscription to the Celera Discovery System.

The companies will share profits from sales of the new system, although Cookson declined to disclose the revenue split. Pricing information for the new database was also not available.

Founded in 1998, Inpharmatica’s key technology is software that predicts protein structure and function from sequence data. The technology was originally developed in Janet Thornton’s lab at University College London. In July, Thornton was appointed research director at the European Bioinformatics Institute in Hinxton, UK.

Inpharmatica, which now has 90 employees, also said that under the terms of the deal the companies had cross-licensed each other’s databases for use in their internal drug discovery programs.

The deal, which has been in the making since the beginning of the year, marks the first time Celera has released its mammalian database to a third party for processing and functional annotation.

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