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DoubleTwist Outlines Commercialization Plans for GeneCards Database

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DoubleTwist said it has acquired the exclusive rights to license the Weizmann Institute’s GeneCards database to commercial entities.

Of the agreement, which BioInform originally reported in January, Marilyn Safran, head of the GeneCards development team, said, “Researchers from industry have been wanting a way to license GeneCards. I am delighted that we can now address their needs through this partnership with DoubleTwist.”

Safran added that the relationship would also allow the development team to continue updating the resource.

DoubleTwist recently announced the availability of its own annotated human and mouse gene index databases. Licensing GeneCards through Yeda Research and Development, the commercial arm of the Weizmann Institute, reflects the company’s efforts to expand its offerings through both in-house and third-party technology and services.

“Our strategy has been to aggregate valuable information and valuable sources of data and tools,” said Robert Williamson, president of DoubleTwist.

GeneCards offers information on genes and their disease associations as well as relevant links to other databases. The institute has just released GeneCards 2.20, which contains 20,147 genes and 41 gene clusters and a new section for SNPs. It also provides links to the GESTALT (Genomic Sequence Total Analysis and Lookup Tool) Workbench for analysis of genomic sequence data.

DoubleTwist expects to initially charge about $100,000 per year/per site. It will first make the database available as a stand-alone product but will eventually integrate it into DoubleTwist.com. The company declined to say what percentage of the revenues it would keep from sales of subscriptions to GeneCards.

DoubleTwist said it would continue to make GeneCards available free to academic users.

— BT

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