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The New Trend: Image-Analysis Software

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Accelrys has moved into a new market with the launch of the Imaging Collection, a suite of image-analysis applications for its SciTegic Pipeline Pilot workflow platform.
The Imaging Collection is expected to be useful for a broad spectrum of image-analysis applications, but the company is first targeting the high-content analysis market, an area that is quickly growing ever more competitive as software firms strive to address the considerable informatics demands of the field.

Accelrys launched the Imaging Collection at the High-Content Analysis conference in San Francisco in late January, but it wasn’t the only software firm using that meeting as a springboard to showcase its new tools.

Definiens, an image-analysis software firm based in Munich, Germany, unveiled plans at the show to upgrade its Cellenger high-content image-analysis software, while BioImagene, an image informatics company based in Cupertino, Calif., announced a new software-bundling partnership with HP for its image data-management and storage tools.

These firms are only a selection of a growing pool of companies and academic labs that have released software over the last few years for analyzing, storing, and managing cell image data.
Tim Moran, director for the Imaging Collection at Accelrys, says that the company’s research shows that the market for high-content screening software and related services is growing 30 percent annually.

“I think that, coupled with the fact that data collection by imaging is so widespread and growing, and there are still so many inefficiencies in inspection and interpretation … [indicates] that we can show some success with this tool,” he says.

“What we’re seeing happen in a lot of the larger organizations is integration of different divisions,” Moran says. “And there’s a definitive workflow in high-content screening that enables us to integrate these types of data.”

- Bernadette Toner

Short Reads

Wako Pure Chemical Industries will market Tokyo-based drug-discovery firm GNI’s Cell Illustrator 3.0 biopathway modeling software. GNI co-developed the modeling software with researchers at Tokyo University’s Institute of Medical Science to support its in-house research as well as collaborations with pharmaceutical partners.

Denmark-based bioinformatics software and hardware outfit CLC Bio has joined Microsoft’s BioIT Alliance. The BioIT Alliance includes Affymetrix, Accelrys, Sun Microsystems, Hewlett-Packard, and a number of other companies in the life sciences, software, and hardware industries.

GeneGo and Spotfire have integrated their software products, enabling users of Spotfire’s DecisionSite to launch GeneGo’s MetaCore and MetaDrug products. DecisionSite users are also able to automatically upload chemical compounds into both GeneGo applications for analysis and then send the data back to DecisionSite to search for other experiments previously run in-house.  

PixelMedia has announced plans for a collaboration with the Jackson Laboratory to develop an improved website for its genetics research facility. In an effort to focus on usability development, the company held a user strategy workshop and plans to conduct further user interviews to help plan the site’s design and content.

Patents

US Patent 7,169,893. Human HAC3. Inventors: Timothy Jegla. Assignee: Icagen. Issued: January 30, 2007.

This patent claims a computer system that “provides isolated nucleic acid and amino acid sequences of hHAC3, antibodies to hHAC3, methods of detecting hHAC3.” The abstract also describes a method, in a computer system, to screen for HAC3 mutation genes and “a method for identifying a three-dimensional structure of human HAC3 polypeptides.”

US Patent 7,158,889. Gene finding using ordered sets. Inventors: Jagir Hussan and Albee Jhoney. Assignee: International Business Machines. Issued: January 2, 2007.

According to the abstract, this patent covers a method, system, and computer program related to finding a gene in DNA sequence. The invention claims to be capable “of identifying sub-strings in the string that match the marker, for each marker string except the last marker string in the ordered sequence of marker strings creating directed links between a sub-string that matches a particular marker string and all the sub-strings that match a subsequent marker string in the ordered sequence of marker strings.”

Data Point

20,000

The number of chemical structures and their protein interactions contained in Cambridge Cell Networks’ new ToxWiz database.

The Scan

US Supports Patent Waivers

NPR reports that the Biden Administration has announced its support for waiving intellectual property protections for SARS-CoV-2 vaccines.

Vaccines Versus Variants

Two studies find the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine to be effective against viral variants, and Moderna reports on booster shots to combat variants.

CRISPR for What Ails You

The Wall Street Journal writes that CRISPR-based therapies could someday be used to treat common conditions like heart attacks.

Nature Papers Review Integration of Single-Cell Assay Data, Present Approach to Detect Rare Variants

In Nature this week: review of ways to integrate data from single-cell assays, and more.