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EBI, Accelrys, GeneGo, Wellcome Trust Center for Human Genetics, BioImagene, Health IT Infrastructure, Jubilant, Genedata, Biosystems Informatics Institute

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UK Agencies Award EBI New Funds to Expand Facilities

The European Bioinformatics Institute said last week that the Wellcome Trust, the UK's Medical Research Council, and the UK's Biotechnology and Biological Sciences have committed to funding the expansion of the EBI site in Hinxton, Cambridgeshire, UK.

The new development will provide 1,500 square meters of space. Together with the EBI's existing 3,000 square meter building, this will provide the space to house over 400 staff, EBI said.

The specific terms of the funding are still "under discussion," but EBI said the expansion may cost up to £14 million ($26 million). The European Molecular Biology Laboratory has committed £700,000 to the expansion in addition to its current funding, which provides around 45 percent of EBI's funds.

EBI Director Janet Thornton said in a statement that the EBI is "absolutely thrilled" that the UK agencies have agreed to support the expansion. "We now have almost 300 people and the need for more space has become critical; some of our staff members are already in temporary accommodation."

Iain Mattaj, EMBL's new director-general, said that EMBL has "always looked to the host country to help fund projects that involve new facilities. We're delighted that the UK funding agencies have responded to our needs."


SciTegic Acquisition Helps Boost Accelrys Q4 Revenues 70 Percent

Accelrys reported 70-percent revenue growth amid narrowed losses for the fourth quarter of its 2005 fiscal year after market close on Thursday, as BioInform went to press.

Accelrys said that sales from SciTegic, which it acquired in September 2004, along with "strong growth" in sales of its core products, led to orders of $19.1 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2005, an 88-percent increase over $10.1 million in orders reported in the same period of 2004.

Reported revenue, which includes the impact of deferred revenue from the company's subscription accounting model, increased 70 percent to $18.9 million, from $11.1 million in the year-ago period.

Accelrys did not break out quarterly orders or revenue numbers for SciTegic.

The company narrowed its net losses by 65 percent, to $9.3 million, or $.36 per share, for the current quarter, compared to $26.8 million, or $1.11 per share, for the quarter ended March 31, 2004.

R&D spending increased to $5.2 million, compared to $4.3 million in the year-ago period.

The company said that its expenses for the quarter included $1.5 million "for severance and related costs arising from a workforce reduction in March 2005," but did not provide further information on the layoffs in a conference call with analysts held after the earnings release.

Accelrys had cash, restricted cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities of $63.3 million as of March 31.


Procter & Gamble Takes License to GeneGo's MetaCore, MetaBase

GeneGo said last week that Procter & Gamble Pharmaceuticals had licensed its MetaCore and MetaBase pathway analysis products.

MetaCore is a data-mining system that allows users to edit pathways and add their own knowledge and annotations to the company's MetaBase database of manually curated pathways.

Financial terms of the agreement with P&G were not disclosed.


Wellcome Trust Center for Human Genetics to Use DataCore Storage

DataCore Software said last week that the Wellcome Trust Center for Human Genetics has chosen its SANmelody storage-management software.

Details of the deployment and financial terms of the agreement were not provided.

"Our expanding research programs and increasing data are forcing an exponential growth in our data storage requirements," said Tim Bardsley, IT manager at the center. "With SANmelody we have been able to use low-cost SATA-IDE type storage and present this to the user community via iSCSi and Fibre Channel."


BioImagene, OSU to Co-Develop Image Analysis Software

The Ohio State University College of Medicine and BioImagene have signed a collaborative agreement to develop imaging algorithms that can be applied to various areas of anatomical pathology, including tissue microarray interpretation, immunocytochemistry, in situ hybridization, and hematoxylin and eosin-based diagnosis, the organizations said last week.

The project will be spearheaded by OSU's department of pathology and led by department chair Sanford Barsky.

The collaboration "combines the pathology experience of Ohio State and its unique patient database with the computer software imaging expertise of BioImagene," Barsky said in a statement.


HHS Report Deems Health IT Infrastructure a 'High Priority'

The US Department of Health and Human Services issued a report last week citing investment in information technology as "an essential, high priority for the American health care system and the US economy."

The report, "Health Information Technology Leadership Panel: Final Report," (available at http://www.hhs.gov/healthit/HITFinalReport.pdf) identifies three key imperatives: "Widespread adoption of interoperable health IT should be a top priority for the US health care system; The federal government should use its leverage as the nation's largest health care payer and provider to drive adoption of health IT; [and] Private sector purchasers and health care organizations can and should collaborate alongside the federal government to drive adoption of health IT."


Johns Hopkins Licenses PathArt from Jubilant Biosys

Jubilant Biosys said last week that it has issued a license for its PathArt pathway database to the microarray core facility at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.


NIH Chemical Genomics Center to Use Genedata's Screener Software

Genedata said last week that the NIH Chemical Genomics Center will use its Screener software system as part of its IT infrastructure.

The software enables high-throughput screening data to be compared across different assays and allows high-throughput analysis of dose-response tests, the company said.

The NCGC is developing a diverse library of hundreds of thousands of compounds, all of which will be screened against various concentrations. "Genedata Screener is able to analyze screening results of this complexity in high-throughput quantities, a requirement for our proposed screening paradigm," said Christopher Austin, director of the NCGC, in a statement.

Financial terms of the agreement were not provided.


UK's BII Forms Commercial Arm, Signs First Deal

The Biosystems Informatics Institute, a UK bioinformatics research initiative based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, said last week that it had formed a commercial trading arm, called Turbinia, that will "facilitate business development and marketing of software tools and fee-for-service offerings in bioinformatics and systems biology."

Concurrent with the founding of Turbinia, BII signed its first commercial deal, securing exclusive rights to distribute software developed at Moscow State University and "a number of other high-profile Russian institutes."

BII said that the technology can be used to dynamically model biochemical pathways and interpret drug effects by including both positive and negative feedback loops, inductive and deductive methods, and prediction of multiple independent outcomes in parallel.

BII did not provide a launch date for the commercial version of the software.

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