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Bioinformatics Briefs: Feb 11, 2002


Lion Nets $22.5M in Sale of Tripos Holdings…


Lion Bioscience said last week that the cheminformatics capabilities it picked up through its acquisition of NetGenics [BioInform 01-21-02] would be sufficient to justify selling its entire holding of 812,182 shares of Tripos common stock.

Lion’s proceeds from the block trade transaction, which was handled by UBS Warburg, came to $22.5 million.

Lion initially purchased 409,091 shares of convertible preferred stock from Tripos in February 2000 for $9 million. Late last month, it converted these shares into 818,192 shares of Tripos common stock and received an accrued dividend on these shares of more than $890,000. Upon liquidating its holdings on February 7, Lion netted an additional $21.6 million.

“Following our recent acquisition of NetGenics, Lion now has all of the elements for delivering an industry-leading data and application integration platform for the life sciences industry. As a result, we no longer consider our investment in Tripos to be of strategic value to Lion,” said CEO Friedrich von Bohlen in a statement.

If NetGenics does indeed provide the cheminformatics pieces Lion is seeking, the Heidelberg, Germany-based company scored quite a deal: it purchased NetGenics for only $17 million in stock.


…And Expands Nestle Deal to Include Training


Lion also announced the expansion of its collaboration with Nestle that began in November 2000. The extended deal covers the implementation of a customized IT-based knowledge management system as well as Lion’s Web-Based Training (WBT) bioinformatics educational platform.

The details of the knowledge management solution that Lion is developing were not disclosed. However, Lion said in a statement that the system would be simlar to the solution it has installed at Bayer.

Lion said that Nestle intends to use the WBT Bioinformatics program “to educate its employees worldwide in the best understanding and most efficient application of bioinformatics software for their global research.”


TIGR Picks Paracel’s Transcript Assembler


Following a “thorough competitive evaluation,” the Institute for Genomic Research said it has selected Paracel’s TranscriptAssembler software to create and maintain future releases of its Gene Index databases, which use ESTs to reconstruct gene sequences for nearly 50 species.

Paracel, based in Pasadena, Calif., said that TranscriptAssembler adds a number of new capabilities to its earlier Paracel Clustering Package

“The EST clustering and assembly product we are offering today has been shaped by input and cooperation received from TIGR,” said Shi-Ping Hsu, general manager of Paracel, in a statement. “We will continue to work with TIGR to bring other effective, state-of-the-art bioinformatics tools to the marketplace.”


Silico Insights and Genzyme Partner on Pathway Project


Silico Insights of Woburn, Mass., said last week that it will apply its i-Sight pathway bioinformatics platform to data from Genzyme Molecular Oncology’s proprietary SAGE database in a collaboration to identify and characterize novel oncogenic pathways and new drug targets.

The partnership will focus on expression data from breast cancer cells and normal breast tissue.

INTEC W&G to Market Genaissance Tools in Japan


Genaissance Pharmaceuticals of New Haven, Conn., said it has entered into a marketing agreement with Japanese bioinformatics and research firm INTEC Web & Genome Informatics.

Under the terms of the agreement, INTEC W&G will market all of Genaissance’s proprietary pharmacogenomics applications and products to pharmaceutical, diagnostic, and biotechnology companies in Japan.

The marketing agreement includes Genaissance’s HAP genetic variation database, individual HAP markers for commercial applications, and committed production capacity from the Genaissance sequencing facility for SNP and HAP marker discovery.


AI Algorithm Screens for Ovarian Cancer Patterns


Researchers from the US Food and Drug Administration, the National Cancer Institute, and Bethesda, Md.-based Correlogic Systems said they have developed a computer-assisted technique to detect proteomic patterns in blood.

The technology, described in the February 16 issue of The Lancet, could be a step toward effective screening for ovarian cancer, according to the authors.

The researchers developed an artificial intelligence algorithm to identify patterns in blood proteins analyzed with mass spectroscopy. They first identified distinct proteomics patterns in an initial assessment of 50 women with known ovarian cancer and 50 healthy women. This pattern was then used to classify an independent set of 116 masked blood samples. It correctly identified all 50 ovarian cancer cases in the masked set and 63 out of the 66 cases of non-malignant disease in the set — a sensitivity of 100 percent and a specificity of 95 percent.


UB Adds Pharmacometrics to Master’s Program


The University of Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences has added a new focus area to its master’s degree program in pharmaceutics: pharmacometrics, which combines pharmacologic studies with computational and statistical methods of data analysis.

According to UB, pharmacometrics involves “the analysis and interpretation of data produced in preclinical and clinical trials, much of which now is generated through new computationally intensive tools, such as bioinformatics.”

The UB pharmacometric curriculum will be based on the university’s existing programs in pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics.


UC Berkeley Offers Spring Bioinformatics Series


The University of California, Berkeley, said it is holding a series of interdisciplinary courses this spring to bring biologists and computer scientists up to speed on the fundamentals of bioinformatics.

UC Berkeley Extension course titles include Databases and Tools of Bioinformatics; Data Analysis for Molecular Sequence Analysis; Microarray Data Analysis and Visualization; Perl Programming for Bioinformatics; The Power of DNA Microarray Technology; and Applied Molecular Biology for Technical Professionals.

Additional information is available at

Filed under

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