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Inpharmatica Makes a Stand Downstream, Will Launch Pint-Sized Biopendium Next Month

NEW YORK, July 25 - British bioinformatics company Inpharmatica will soon announce plans to take a greater stake in drug discovery, GenomeWeb has learned.


The London-based firm also plans to launch next month a scaled-down and less-expensive version of its Biopendium platform.


In its move to secure a firm footing downstream, Inpharmatica will license and use internally technology that marries its bioinformatics tools with a newly developed chemogenomics platform, a company official told GenomeWeb.


The technology, called Pharmacarta, will be launched at the Drug Discovery Technology conference that begins in Boston on Aug. 4, said Edith Cookson, a director of product development at Inpharmatica.


"This is something that will eventually make drug development another revenue stream for us," Cookson told GenomeWeb.


Cookson said Inpharmatica, which is still "totally committed to the database side" of the company, took between nine and 12 months to build a chemogenomics platform that, when combined with the firm's Biopendium proteome search tool, will allow customers and in-house researchers to hunt for lead molecules.


She said the company plans to hire an undisclosed number of researchers soon to oversee the tool, which currently comprises R&D efforts from bioinformatics, chemogenomic, disease-indication specialists, and pharmacology.


Cookson said the tool will be implemented in-house and in collaboration with other companies, though she would not say who those are. However, according to a source close to the company, one of the charter collaborations will be with Serono, the Swiss biotech company with whom Inpharmatica currently has a $20 million research collaboration.


Separately, GenomeWeb has learned that Inpharmatica will launch at the DDT conference a scaled-down version of the Biopendium platform. The new tool, which will cost as little as $300,000, will let small- and mid-size biotechs browse Inpharmatica's annotation of the human proteome, according to Richard Lingard, a director of business development at the company.


The full-size Biopendium runs as much as $1.5 million and is targeted primarily at big pharma and biotech, Lingard said. Asked if an even more affordable version will be available for nonprofits or academia, he said "not for at least 18 months."

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