GT’s cover story last June profiled First Genetic Trust and its plan to profit from developing secure genomic databases. It first intended to make money by supporting research at pharma and biomed centers. To that end, FGT and GlaxoSmithKline started a SNP-based research collaboration in October. In April, FGT entered a genotype/phenotype association-based research collaboration with Johns Hopkins University. The company has also joined with Orchid BioSciences and nTouch to develop and market pharma-related services and products, respectively, and recently unveiled a high security, e-enabled patient network for genomic research.
In a recent note to GT, First Genetic Trust CEO Arthur Holden wrote, “We have developed a network of over 650,000 patients across 15 major diseases for genomic research. Using a distributed web solution, patients can be enrolled, consented and reconsented, phenotyped over time, donate samples into a high security repository, for a study that can be managed by each study sponsor. We are using the best of IT to bring patients into genomic research, while protecting their right to control who has access to their data for which studies. We are putting into practice the great story you reported last year.”
We also reported a year ago that IBM was on the verge of releasing its long-awaited DiscoveryLink data management tool. Critics lambasted IBM for its aggressive promotion of its product and for its history of flirting with the life sciences industry, but even then NetGenics, MDS Proteomics, and Incyte were promising to integrate the tool into their own platforms. Since then, IBM has delivered an updated version of the integration middleware and announced collaborations with Accelrys, Lion Bioscience, and Spotfire. Aventis, GeneFormatics, and Schering have also licensed the DiscoveryLink platform.
— Diana Jong