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GlaxoSmithKline Acquires 15 Percent Holding In Pharmacogenomics Software Developer

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GlaxoSmithKline has purchased a 15 percent interest in Golden Helix, a developer of data analysis software for pharmacogenomics.

The decision to invest came after GlaxoSmithKline collaborated for two years in the development of HelixTree, Golden Helix’s proprietary software.

George Makris, vice president of marketing and sales for Golden Helix, said the software is able to link the various steps that pharmacogenomics requires: sequencing, genotyping, and the eventual clinical trial. HelixTree provides “massive statistical power,” he said, to correlate genetic information, drug efficacy data, and toxicity data in order to arrive at targeted medicines for targeted populations.

HelixTree relates thousands of interacting genes and environmental factors to clinical outcomes using proprietary data segmentation algorithms. According to Golden Helix, these routines exist in no other software.

Glaxo recognized the unique ability of HelixTree software in this area, Makris said, and invested in the company with the hope of making it an industry standard.

Makris said that Glaxo has already determined candidate genes using HelixTree. Schering Plough is also a licensee and several other pharmaceutical companies are currently testing the software.

Golden Helix’s target market is primarily big pharma, but Makris sees the market expanding to other companies embarking on drug development. “The way things are going, everyone has to get on the pharmacogenomics bandwagon,” he said. “Consumers will demand it.”

The industry should be ready to deliver personalized medicine within three to five years, Makris said.

— BT

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