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BioWisdom Launches Web Portal to Deliver Customized Data Directly to Subscribers

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BioWisdom of Cambridge, UK, plans to launch an Internet-based genomics service in early April that would feed information to users based on their individual research goals.

“People can actually track their specific areas of research interest, such as gene targets or disease targets, and we will alert them of changes in public domain and proprietary domain information, said Jessica Robertson, communications manager for BioWisdom.

Data sources will eventually cover the full drug development pipeline, Robertson said, beginning with genomics and proteomics, and extending to chemistry, pharmacology, and other domain areas later in the year.

Robertson said the Discovery Portfolio portal would initially be free to users, with more in-depth information from proprietary databases available on a pay-per-use basis. Robertson said she could not comment on whether database companies such as Celera and Incyte would agree to such an arrangement.

BioWisdom hopes to make its money through revenue-sharing agreements with database providers. So far, Proteom, a company that provides information about peptides, and Merops-Pro, a protease database supplier, have signed licensing agreements with BioWisdom. Robertson said BioWisdom, which does not intend to generate its own proprietary data, was in talks with a number of other database vendors.

BioWisdom expects that its use of the newly released Thinkmap Studio version 1.5 development platform will bring the proprietary and public domain information to scientists in visually stimulating ways.

“It acts as a hyperbolic browser that actually visualizes the connectivity between different pieces of information,” said Robertson. BioWisdom is using the technology to link a number of ontologies that describe different domain areas. The company has hired an in-house domain expert to build proprietary ontologies and is also using part of the GO ontology.

Other organizations such as DoubleTwist and Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science also offer annotated biomedical information about the structure and function of human genes, but Robertson noted that neither of these services alerts users of changes in both public and proprietary domain information.

While DoubleTwist said it delivers e-mails to users with updated information, Robertson countered that DoubleTwist only alerts users about changes in DoubleTwist’s proprietary data.

BioWisdom has so far raised two million pounds ($2.9 million) in venture capital from MB Venture Capital Fund. The company has 18 employees. It estimates there are 150,000 potential subscribers worldwide.

— JF and BT

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