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caBIG Knowledge Centers, GVK Biosciences, AstraZeneca, BioWisdom, J&J, Genstruct, Pfizer, Entelos, GeneBio, Spotfire, SynGene, SGI

NCI Seeks Proposals for caBIG Knowledge Centers
SAIC-Frederick, the technical support contractor for the National Cancer Institute, this week issued a request for proposals for Cancer Biomedical Informatics Grid Knowledge Centers.
According to the RFP, available here, the caBIG Knowledge Centers are intended to “facilitate the widespread adoption and integration of caBIG standards, tools, and infrastructure by application end users, such as bench scientists, biospecimen managers, pathologists, clinical trialists, and information technology administrators.”
NCI plans to establish caBIG Knowledge Centers in five specific focus areas: tissue/biospecimen banking and technology tools; clinical trials management systems; molecular-analysis tools; caGrid; and vocabulary.
These centers “are expected to serve as the repositories and resources for the knowledge associated within their designated area of focus,” the RFP said. “By doing so, the Knowledge Center acts as the steward of the tools and documentation, providing access and support to those individuals and institutions interested in making use of or extending caBIG tools.”
NCI said that it expects the centers to employ the “equivalent of four full time, senior staff.”
Proposals are due on March 19.

AstraZeneca Licenses GVK Toxicity Database
AstraZeneca has licensed GVK Biosciences’ Mechanism Based Toxicity Database, the Hyderabad, India-based firm said this week.
The database contains more than 13,000 drug and drug-like compounds, their routes of metabolism, toxic indications, and the numerical values of the measures of toxicity.
The license extends AstraZeneca’s existing license for all of GVK’s target and drug databases.
Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

J&J Joins BioWisdom’s Tox-Safety Program
Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development will use BioWisdom’s toxicity safety software in drug development programs, BioWisdom said this week.
Under the three-year agreement, J&J has joined BioWisdom’s Safety Intelligence Program, which uses the company’s Sofia platform to create a “specialist medical search system” for drug safety risk assessment, BioWisdom said.
The SIP initiative is aimed at helping drug developers avoid drug-induced adverse events, BioWisdom said.
J&J is BioWisdom’s second SIP partner, following AstraZeneca, which joined the program last year.
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.

Pfizer Taps Genstruct for Preclinical Drug Analysis
Genstruct said this week it will collaborate with Pfizer on current and future preclinical drug-safety studies.
Under the terms of the agreement, Genstruct will work with Pfizer on a systems biology analysis of the biological mechanisms that underlie drug-induced liver injury.
Genstruct President and CEO Keith Elliston said the company has previously worked with Pfizer on oncology, vascular injury, cardiovascular, and metabolic disease.
Genstruct focuses on integrating and analyzing large-scale data from transcriptomic, proteomic, metabolomic, and phosphoproteomic research. The firm also applies its technologies to finding biomarkers of efficacy and toxicity of drugs.
Financial terms of the agreement were not released, but Genstruct said that it retains biomarker intellectual property rights.

Entelos to Conduct ‘Virtual Clinical Trials’ for PDL’ Antibody-Development Program
Entelos said this week that it has signed an agreement with PDL Biopharma to conduct “virtual clinical trials” for the company’s antibody-development program. 
Entelos said it expects the project to last two months, and is focused on identifying primary endpoints, patient types, and optimal doses.
“Clinical trial simulations are one of the most powerful and important applications of our Physiolab platforms,” James Karis, president and CEO of Entelos, said in a statement. “Simulating clinical trials prior to conducting them can significantly reduce the risk, time, and overall cost of a drug program, especially when companies are faced with key decisions about selecting the right dose and patient types upfront.”
Additional terms of the agreement were not provided.

BC Proteomics Network to Use GeneBio's Software
A Canadian proteomics initiative will use Geneva Bioinformatics’ Phenyx software in its protein identification and characterization research, GeneBio said this week.
The agreement allows the BC Proteomics Network, which includes researchers at the University of British Columbia and other BC institutions, to install the Phenyx software on its centralized server, giving the other members access to the platform as well.
“Our goal is to offer our network a high-performance computing server that can handle the various demands and necessities inherent in a much-used proteomics cluster,” said Christopher Overall, a professor of metalloproteinase proteomics and systems biology at the Center for Blood Research at the University of British Columbia. He added that the Phenyx software “fits nicely in this context.”
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.

Spotfire Partners with Integromics on Andalusian Bioinformatics Project
Spotfire, a subsidiary of Tibco Software, said this week that it is working with Integromics of Granada, Spain, to co-develop a genomics software platform for Spain’s Andalusia region.
Integromics is developing the software platform with funding from the governments of Spain and Andalusia. Other partners in the collaboration include the University of Malaga and the University of Cordoba, also based in Andalusia.
Spotfire said that Integromics will use its suite of products to create the platform, which will integrate “complex information and applications” for genomics and transcriptomics.
Financial terms of the agreement were not provided.

Open Mind Institute Uses Syngene Software for 2D Gel Analysis
The Open Mind Institute is using Syngene’s Dymension software to analyze 2D protein gels, Syngene said this week.
OMI is studying medicinal plants to determine how the anti-addictive alkaloid ibogaine affects the brain.
Syngene said that OMI plans to use Dymension to determine post-ibogaine treatment differences in silver-stained rat brain proteins run on 2D gels.
Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

SGI Deploys IT Infrastructure for Malaysia Genomics Institute
SGI said this week that it has designed a “hybrid computing solution” for the Malaysia Genomics Institute that uses a combination of shared-memory systems and clusters for bioinformatics research.
The platform includes SGI’s new BioCluster system — a version of its Altix XE cluster platform bundled with capacity-management software from eXludus — as well as an Altix shared-memory server and an InfiniteStorage CXFS SAN shared file system.
SGI worked with channel partner Quantum Beez Sdn Bhd (formerly known as Open Source Systems) to design and develop the IT infrastructure for MGI.

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