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UPDATED: MSI Forms Group to Develop Bolster Crystallography Efforts

This story has been updated from a previous version.

NEW YORK, Dec 6 – Pharmacopeia subsidiary Molecular Simulations announced Wednesday the launch of an international high-throughput crystallography consortium.

Five members - Abbott Laboratories, Cytoclonal Pharmaceutics, Emerald Biostructures, Exelixis, and Genencor International – have already joined the consortium, the company said. Members will have access to a library of MSI software plus training and support for MSI’s technology.

Members join the consortium for a period of three years and pay an annual fee. While not able to disclose the exact amount of the annual fee, Pharmacopeia spokeswoman Sue Rodney told GenomeWeb that fees for its other consortia range from $50,000 to $500,000. She added that the current fee structure is at the low end of this scale.

Through the consortium, MSI aims to leverage its expertise in structural biology to drive development of rapid methods for X-ray structure determination, model building, and validation. According to the company, new solutions in these areas will benefit from an informatics architecture that will ensure efficient data exchange.

Rodney said that an informatics architecture is already in development at MSI through recent acquisitions.

“This consortium will allow us to create and market products that will more specifically meet the needs of the bioinformatics market,” she added.

“Companies get the ability to guide the development of software so that it meets their needs and they also get early access to the software before we commercialize it. We get industry-relevant guidance in terms of want they want in the software, as well as partially funded R&D for development of our software.”

Pharmacopeia believes that its new informatics-based technology will enable the automation of protein structure determination

MSI runs six other similar projects in combinatorial chemistry, formulations, polymers, catalysis, functional genomics, and molecular crystallization. According to MSI, these projects have been successful in developing technology and transferring it to industry. Rodney said that the consortia have presented a “pretty effective business model,” that benefits both sides. Some members are in their fifth or sixth renewal.

Through its MSI, Synopsys Scientific Systems, Oxford Molecular, and GCG subsidiaries, Pharmacopeia develops and commercializes molecular modeling, simulation, gene sequence analysis, informatics and workflow software, systems and services.

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