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Potenzone to Head Up Microsoft BioIT Alliance


Microsoft’s BioIT Alliance — a network of hardware and software suppliers formed in 2006 with the goal of improving biomedical data interchange — has a new coordinator who aims to expand the scope of its membership as well as its geographic reach.

The BioIT Alliance now counts 53 life science IT shops on its roster. Rudy Potenzone, the newly appointed strategy advisor for the alliance, says that the number could expand to include not only more biotech firms, but also pharmaceutical interests. In addition, he says that the effort will begin holding quarterly meetings far beyond Microsoft’s Redmond, Wash., headquarters.

Potenzone took the helm of the BioIT Alliance in mid-July, when former advisor Don Rule shifted gears to work in the company’s Health Solutions Group. 

He says that while Microsoft’s broader interest in improving healthcare is the primary driver for the initiative, he recognizes that ultimately this is a business that affects the bottom line. “We’re on everyone’s desktop, so [we are in a position] to ask what our role [should] be in healthcare. … We are best positioned to help.”

The alliance plans to reach beyond its Redmond, Wash., borders and hold quarterly meetings on the east coast of the US and beyond, he says. However, the site of the next meeting, scheduled for October, has yet to be determined.

During the one-day meetings, “we talk about some new, cool Microsoft technology and then some of the partners will talk about things that might be done of more global interest,” Potenzone says. “It’s really a sharing [of information] and we try not to make them too dense.”

Potenzone says that “we didn’t really put a lot of numbers” around specific goals, so the success of the alliance can be measured more by the level of interest from participants and the community.

Laurie Wiegler

Short Reads

Biosimulation firm Gene Network Sciences will use its biological modeling software to assist CombinatoRx in drug efficacy and safety studies. Each company will use protein expression and transcriptional profiling data generated by CombinatorRx and the GNS proprietary reverse engineering and simulation software platform to characterize mechanisms underlying the interactions between the components of multi-target therapeutic candidates.

The Texas Institute for Genomic Medicine has deposited more than 275,000 nucleotide sequence tags from its knockout mouse library into the NIH’s Genbank. TIGM, which joined the Knockout Mouse Consortium in May, offered the genetic sequence information after NIH called for mouse sequence data to be shared internationally.

Health Discovery has announced that the US Patent and Trademark Office issued a notice of allowance for its patent application, “Method for the Manipulation, Storage, Modeling, Visualization and Quantification of Datasets.” The patent is poised to be the second of a series of applications covering the company’s “Fractal Genomics Modeling” technology.

InforSense joins the Affymetrix GeneChip-compatible Applications Program, so its GenSense solution is compatible with the Affymetrix GeneChip microarray platform. Affymetrix has also become a member of InforSense’s Open Workflow Partner Network.


US Patent 7,231,328. Apparatus and method for designing proteins and protein libraries. Inventor: John Desjarlais. Assignee: Penn State Research Foundation. Issued: June 12, 2007.

The abstract for this invention describes a “methodology for the automated design of proteins, [including] various methods executed by a computer for generating probability matrices, protein sequences, combinatorial libraries of proteins, and optimization of various parameters related to protein design.”

US Patent 7,238,323. Microfluidic sequencing systems. Inventors: Michael Knapp, John Wallace Parce, Luc Bousse, and Anne Kopf-Sill. Assignee: Caliper Life Sciences. Issued: July 3, 2007.

This patent covers “integrated systems, apparatus, software, and methods for performing biochemical analysis, including DNA sequencing, genomic screening, purification of nucleic acids and other biological components and drug screening.” Microfluidic devices, systems, and methods for using these devices and systems for performing a wide variety of fluid operations are provided.

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