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Accelrys, BT Combine Infrastructure, Data to Support Healthcare Research

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Accelrys and BT said this week that they will provide analysis infrastructure and data that will help customers working in drug research and development and clinical trials gain insights into areas of unmet medical need and select trial participants, among other activities.

Specifically, the partners are combining the BT for Life Science cloud compute platform with the Accelrys Enterprise platform which includes Accelrys Pipeline Pilot, the company's graphical scientific workflow authoring application. BT's cloud also includes a repository of publically available health system and social care information from the UK's National Health Service including data on disease prevalence, adverse drug reactions, and patient outcomes.

The combined solution will go on the market in June at which time the companies will release pricing for access to the data and analysis tools. According to the partners, customers will be charged a fee to access virtual machines on BT's cloud where the NHS data and Accelrys analysis tools reside.

David Brown, a pharmaceutical industry consultant for BT Global Services, told BioInform that his firm partnered with Accelrys because its tools provided the features needed to manage and combine the NHS datasets, which until now has not been made available "in a single form and … location." The Accelrys platform also includes tools for running advanced analytics that will help customers obtain valuable insights from the data, he said.

He also added that BT's business focus is on providing infrastructure and not software development. As a result, it made more sense to form a partnership with an established software provider.

Clifford Baron, Accelrys' director of biology product marketing, told BioInform that the partnership is an opportunity to showcase the capabilities of his firm's products.

The collaboration may also present a longer-term business opportunity for Accelrys. Last year, the UK government announced that it planned to fully sequence the genomes of 100,000 citizens suffering from cancer and rare diseases.

Combining the current NHS datasets with information from the 100,000 Genomes Project will result "in an incredibly useful dataset for research, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology communities," Baron said. "We really want to establish our position [early on] in helping our customers extract the value from that data."

This is the second infrastructure-based partnership between Accelrys and BT. In April, the companies announced that the Hit Explorer Operating System, or HEOS — a software-as-a-service platform for collaborative drug discovery sold by Accelrys (BI 10/14/2011) — would be available on the BT for Life Sciences cloud.

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