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Spotfire Releases Array Explorer Version 3.0

NEW YORK, Oct 23 – Spotfire, which claims the top 25 pharmaceutical and 120 of the top biotechnology companies as users of its Array Explorer, said Monday it had released version 3.0 of the Web-based gene expression analysis software.

This latest version of Spotfire Array Explorer is fully integrated with the company’s Spotfire.net Web-based decision analytics platform.

“This used to be software that you installed locally,” said Chris Ahlberg, Spotfire CEO. “But now it’s built as a Web architecture where software components come delivered over the Web.”

The components can be distributed via the customer’s intranet or through the Intranet from Spotfire’s portal.

As customers’ needs change at a rapid pace, Ahlberg said that it was important to put the software in such a delivering mechanism to be able to update algorithms quickly and safely. He said that Spotfire, which expects to go public in 2001, would release a whole range of updated functionality for the Array Explorer through the fall and into next spring.

“The thing about all these algorithms that people want in the data mining area is that there is a lot of what I jokingly call the algorithm de jour concept: we now want this algorithm and now we want that algorithm,” said Ahlberg.

“We can now be in a mode where we can deliver new functionality to our users extremely more effectively than we’ve ever been able to do before.”

The software also allows researchers to link to internal and third-party genomics data sources, as well as those of instrument providers. Users access the software for gene expression analysis in a Web environment and have the ability to collaborate with colleagues.

Explorer Array is integrated with solutions offered by industry-leading content and instrument providers, including Incyte Genomics , Affymetrix, Proteome, Molecular Dynamics, Genomics Solutions, and PPGx. It also links to Genbank, Entrez, SwissProt, GeneCards, KEGG, and OMIM databases.

The product also supports microarray technology with a host of analytical and data visualization methods and provides researchers with an interactive, graphical environment that enables researchers to reduce large amounts of data into clusters of similar-behaving groups. It also allows them to identify therapeutic targets and fail bad compounds and targets early.

The software enables ad hoc profile search and analysis for the identification of entities exhibiting characteristic or signature profiles and the exploration of annotation data, gene information, expression values, and experimental information at the levels of genome, cell, and organism in the context of what is already known. Version 3.0 also offers new versions of hierarchical, bi-directional hierarchical, and K-means cluster analysis.

“You can now work with these clustering methods in an interactive mode. While before you would start the algorithm, go take a cup of coffee, come back and see the results, now you could do it in kind of bang, bang, bang mode and put it right into the user experience with visualization,” said Ahlberg. “It’s much, much, much faster.”

Spotfire put the new version to test through a broad beta program, which included “everything from big pharma to smaller biotechs.”

“We’ve gotten great customer feedback,” said Ahlberg. “We just got a bunch of orders coming in here today.”

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