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Accelrys, Pfizer, Organon, DNAStar, Cancer Research UK, Genomatix, Molecular Connections, GenoLogics, Illumina, Roche, LifeSpan Bio, Thermo Fisher, BioIT Alliance, Siena Biotech, Bioalma, Eidogen-Sertanty, MDL Isentris

Accelrys Creates Cheminformatics Consortium, Signs Pfizer as First Member
Accelrys this week said that it has formed the Accelrys Enterprise Cheminformatics Consortium, a collaborative software development project with the goal of creating an open and flexible enterprise cheminformatics software environment.
Pfizer is the first member of the consortium, which will have a three-year duration, the company said.
The effort is an extension of the company’s previous consortia in areas such as catalysis, combinatorial chemistry, and nanotechnology. Consortium members pay an undisclosed entry fee, collaborate with Accelrys on R&D, and are guaranteed early access to any products developed under the initiative.
An Accelrys spokesperson said that the consortium will draw from both its Accord cheminformatics products and SciTegic Pipeline Pilot workflow platform.
“We are componentizing the Accelrys Accord cheminformatics products so essentially customers can use what they need from the variety of Accelrys/SciTegic offerings and/or include components they have developed in house or from another vendor (even our competition),” Philomena Walsh, director of corporate communications at Accelrys, explained to BioInform via e-mail. “The idea is to provide our customers with a solution that is flexible and configurable without the vendor lock-in associated with other proprietary solutions.”
Accelrys CEO Mark Emkjer said in a conference call to discuss the company’s fiscal third-quarter earnings this week that the company hopes to expand its share of the cheminformatics market. He estimated that the market is currently worth around $200 million, and that Accelrys holds around 5 percent of that (see related story, this issue).

Organon Adds XE Module to ActivityBase Installation
IDBS said this week that Organon has added its XE high-performance screening module to its current ActivityBase deployment.
Organon’s molecular pharmacology departments in Oss, the Netherlands, and Newhouse, UK, will use the module, following a “comprehensive pilot,” IDBS said.
Organon began using ActivityBase in 2002.
“The attraction of the XE module was the ability to perform verification, analysis, and visualization within one environment,” said Steven van Helden, section head for screening and technology at Organon, in a statement. “This greatly improves our workflow for high-throughput screening, hit optimization, and lead optimization.”

Cancer Research UK Expands License for DNAStar's Sequencing Software
DNAStar said this week that Cancer Research UK has expanded its site license for the company’s Lasergene sequence analysis software.
In November, CR-UK licensed Lasergene for use at its Lincoln’s Inn Field and Clare Hall laboratories.
The new three-year agreement allows the Cambridge Research Institute and the Paterson Institute for Cancer Research to use the software at their labs as well.
GATC Biotech is DNAStar’s distributor for European markets.

Genomatix and Molecular Connections Integrate Databases
Genomatix Software and Molecular Connections have agreed to integrate their data suites, the companies said today.
Under the agreement, Molecular Connections’ Netpro will be integrated into Genomatix’ BiblioSphere Pathway edition.
Netpro is a database of protein and small-molecule interactions including information on pathways, diseases, and pharmacokinetics.
Genomatix’ BPSE database contains data from genome-wide DNA analysis and is focused on gene regulation.  
Genomatix is based in Munich, Germany, and Molecular Connections is based in Bangalore, India.
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.

GenoLogics Signs First Geneus Customer, Plans to Integrate with Illumina’s Platform
GenoLogics said this week that the University of Pittsburgh Genomics and Proteomics Core Laboratories has become the first customer for its Geneus data-management software.
GenoLogics said GPCL, which already uses its Proteus proteomics software, installed an early-access version of Geneus, which is used for genotyping and gene expression projects.
GenoLogics said it has received four other orders for Geneus, including the Sir Henry Wellcome Functional Genomics Facility in Glasgow, Scotland. The software will be installed at the Glasgow lab in early 2007.
Separately, GenoLogics said it will integrate Geneus with Illumina’s SNP gene expression and genotyping applications.

Roche to Use LifeSpan Bio's DrugTarget Database
Roche Pharma has purchased a subscription to LifeSpan BioSciences' DrugTarget Database, LifeSpan said this week.
Under the agreement, Roche Pharma will use the CNS subset of the database, which LifeSpan said contains information on more than 3,400 genes, 996 immunohistochemistry reports, and localization information for more than 450 potential drug targets.
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.

Thermo Fisher Joins BioIT Alliance
Thermo Fisher Scientific said this week that it has joined the BioIT Alliance, a group of biotech and IT companies working with Microsoft to advance biomedical information technology.
Dave Champagne, vice president of informatics and general manager at Thermo Fisher, said that the company’s strategy for standardization and interoperability aligns well with the goals of the Alliance.
Champagne said the company hopes to “help drive standards that enable end-to-end workflows for our customers, regardless of their industry.”

Siena Biotech Extends License of Bioalma’s AKS2
Spanish bioinformatics firm Bioalma and its distribution partner Active Motif said this week that Siena Biotech has extended its license for AKS2 (AlmaKnowledgeServer), Bioalma’s text-mining software.
Details of the extended licensing agreement were not provided.
Siena Biotech is using AKS2 to study information on diseases, genes, and compounds in the scientific literature as part of its proteomics analysis pipeline.

Eidogen-Sertanty Joins MDL Isentris Alliance
Eidogen-Sertanty, a provider of computational drug discovery technology, said this week that it has joined Elsevier MDL’s MDL Isentris Alliance, a community of informatics companies working with Elsevier MDL to integrate their offerings with the company’s Isentris platform.
Steve Muskal, CEO of Eidogen-Sertanty, said in a statement that the partnership “will help research organizations provide scientists with an expanded view of discovery information by integrating ligand-based, target-specific, and protein structural knowledgebases.”
Other MDL Isentris Alliance members include ACD/Labs, DeltaSoft, InfoChem, InforSense, Klee, Osthus, Spotfire, Symyx, and Tripos.

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The Scan

Study Examines Insights Gained by Adjunct Trio RNA Sequencing in Complex Pediatric Disease Cases

Researchers in AJHG explore the diagnostic utility of adding parent-child RNA-seq to genome sequencing in dozens of families with complex, undiagnosed genetic disease.

Clinical Genomic Lab Survey Looks at Workforce Needs

Investigators use a survey approach in Genetics in Medicine Open to assess technologist applications, retention, and workforce gaps at molecular genetics and clinical cytogenetics labs in the US.

Study Considers Gene Regulatory Features Available by Sequence-Based Modeling

Investigators in Genome Biology set sequence-based models against observational and perturbation assay data, finding distal enhancer models lag behind promoter predictions.

Genetic Testing Approach Explores Origins of Blastocyst Aneuploidy

Investigators in AJHG distinguish between aneuploidy events related to meiotic missegregation in haploid cells and those involving post-zygotic mitotic errors and mosaicism.