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Accelrys in Deals with Bayer, Northrop Grumman, GeneSys

Accelrys last week announced a software licensing deal with Bayer, a subcontract agreement with Northrop Grumman, and a software integration partnership with GenSys Software.

Accelrys said that Bayer has licensed “a comprehensive library of life science modeling software” that will be used at the pharmaceutical company’s research centers in Germany and the United States. Accelrys did not provide details on all the software that Bayer is using under the agreement, but did note that the company is using its VAMP semi-empirical molecular orbital software for calculating physical and chemical molecular properties.

Under the Northrop Grumman agreement, Accelrys said it will use its statistical modeling tools to assist in the research and development of bioagent detectors for the US Department of Homeland Security. Specifically, the company will model the “anticipated sensitivity and selectivity” of detection tools that will be used to monitor for the presence of bacteria, viruses, and toxin-proteins.

Northrop Grumman is one of 14 companies and universities contracted by the Homeland Security Advance Research Projects Agency to develop measures for defending against biological threats.

Finally, Accelrys said that is working with GenSys to integrate its Accord Chemistry Control cheminformatics component in GenSys Software’s Electronic Laboratory Notebook.


Strand Signs Distributor, Secures $1M Grant

Strand Genomics, based in Bangalore, India, said last week that it has tapped Gene Tech Company to distribute its Avadis microarray software in Hong Kong and China.

Gene Tech, which is based in Hong Kong, is also the distributor of Affymetrix’s GeneChips in that region.

Separately, Strand announced that it had received a $1 million grant to develop hepatotoxicity predictive models.

The grant is from ICICI, an Indian bank, and the Sponsored Research and Development Program fund of the World Bank in India.

Strand said it will collaborate with India’s Central Drug Research Institute to develop a modeling approach that will “capture pathway dynamics in liver toxicity studied via mathematical representations and analysis of computationally intensive simulations.”

Scientists at CDRI will design and run assays to support the modeling effort.


W3C Seeks Papers for Workshop on Semantic Web for Life Sciences

The World Wide Web Consortium is seeking “informal position papers” for an upcoming workshop on the semantic web for life sciences.

The workshop will be held Oct. 27-28 in Cambridge, Mass. Paper proposals are due Sept. 15.

Details of the workshop are available at http://www.w3.org/2004/07/swls-cfp.html.


Compugen and Diagnostic Products to Co-Develop Diagnostics

Compugen said last week that it is partnering with Diagnostic Products, a Los Angeles-based firm, to co-develop diagnostics based on biomarker candidates already discovered by Compugen, as well as additional candidates arising out of the collaboration.

Diagnostic Products plans to develop immunoassay- or nucleic acid-based diagnostics using potential biomarkers provided by Compugen. The companies said they expect to focus on cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

Compugen said it is entitled to milestone payments as well as royalties on the sales of any diagnostic products and also has the right to develop any biomarkers for therapeutic purposes.


University of Iowa to use Partek Pro

Partek said last week that the University of Iowa has licensed its Partek Pro software for use in statistical and visual analysis of microarray data.

Financial terms of the agreement were not provided.


NAS Panel: Keep Pathogen Genomes Public

A new report from the National Academies’ National Research Council recommends no changes in policies that give unrestricted public access to genomic data on microbial pathogens, but said an advisory board should be created to review security implications as genome research continues.

“The current vitality of the life sciences depends on a free flow of data and ideas, which is necessary if science is to deliver new biodefense capabilities and improve our ability to fight infectious disease,” the committee chairman, Stanley Falkow, professor of microbiology and immunology at Stanford University, said in a statement.

The committee recommended that policy-makers focus on “exploiting genome information fully to improve our defenses against infectious diseases of all types” instead of restricting access or classifying data.

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