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Iconix, BioSoftware Systems, BioAnalytics Group, IBM, EBI, Cambridge University, Genomatix, Inpharmatica, Health Discovery, Incogen, Computational Genomics Course, Bioinformatics Masters Program


Iconix to Release of Genomic Biomarker Data

Iconix Pharmaceuticals said last week that it plans to publicly release a subset of its proprietary genomic biomarker data in a move to support the US Food and Drug Administration’s ongoing pharmacogenomics initiative.

At the 43rd Annual Society of Toxicology Meeting in Baltimore, Md., March 23, Iconix said it would provide “immediate early access” to five of its Drug Signature gene-expression biomarkers “to qualified researchers and organizations who agree to make their findings publicly available in support of the program.”

Iconix said it plans to publish its own findings on the derivation, validation, and application of its genomic biomarkers in “leading peer-reviewed journals” later this year.

The new initiative is designed “to make a greater body of evidence available to researchers in support of the FDA initiative to finalize guidelines on the use of pharmacogenomic data in regulatory decision-making,” the company said. In particular, Iconix said it intends to “stimulate increased public dialogue and research on the definition and application of ‘Known Valid Biomarkers’” — a concept still being developed by the FDA.

Iconix said that it has derived and validated hundreds of Drug Signatures, which it uses to predict the potential toxicity, mechanism, or side effects of a drug candidate. The five biomarkers selected for the research initiative were selected based on their “relevance to a broad cross-section of the scientific community and targeted at key drug-induced toxicities in liver, kidney, and heart tissue that are often cited as the reason for failed drug development programs,” the company said.

BioSoftware Systems and the BioAnalytics Group Partner on Pathways

BioSoftware Systems and the BioAnalytics Group said last week that they would jointly offer pathway-modeling solutions that combine the BioPathway Explorer software product from BioSoftware Systems and the BioAnalytics Group’s Model-Based Assays.

BioPathway Explorer will serve as the “foundation” upon which the BioAnalytics Group plans to deliver its Model-Based Assay technology, said Scott Lett, president of the BioAnalytics Group.

The BioAnalytics Group currently offers the Model Based assay technology via a services model. The offering includes a cell or tissue assay; a simulation model of the assay system that links experimental protocols and known cell physiology to the measured response; and data analysis and filtering algorithms.

IBM Signs SUR Partnerships with EBI, Cambridge University

IBM has awarded two new Shared University Research hardware grants for life sciences research in the UK to the European Bioinformatics Institute and the Cambridge University Department of Oncology at the Hutchinson/MRC Research Center. IBM researchers will collaborate with each of the organizations as part of the SUR agreements.

At EBI, Big Blue is installing an eServer BladeCenter running Linux “with an optimum configuration for typical high-throughput, bioinformatics environments.”

At the Hutchinson/MRC Center, IBM is providng 64-bit eServer pSeries xSeries servers running Unix and Linux, as well as the DB2 Universal Database Information Integrator software (previously called DiscoveryLink). Researchers at the center will also use data-mining tools developed by IBM Research, the company said.

Genomatix Breaks Even in 2003

Genomatix, a privately held bioinformatics company in Munich, Germany, said last week that it reached cash-flow break-even in 2003.

“We are very proud in having achieved this significant milestone in our corporate development, especially looking at last year’s adverse business environment for platform technology providers,” Klaus May, director of sales and marketing for the company, said.

May said that Genomatix is seeking a second round of funding to accelerate development of its proprietary technology for transcript-specific probe design.

Inpharmatica Signs Predictive ADME deal with GSK

Inpharmatica last week said it had signed an agreement with GlaxoSmithKline for access to its in silico ADME technology — its fourth publicly announced predictive ADME deal in the last six months.

Inpharmatica said it would apply the technology to an undisclosed number of GSK’s drug discovery programs in the UK and Europe.

Health Discovery Collaborates with Stanford, University of Miami

Health Discovery Corporation said last week that it would collaborate with researchers from Stanford University and the University of Miami using its Fractal Genomics Modeling (FGM) computational technology to identify biomarker patterns.

In the Stanford project, Healt Discovery will use FGM to study lymphatic insufficiency and its response to therapeutic lymphangiogenesis.

With the University of Miami, the company will use the technology to identify patterns of biomarkers for AIDS-related dementia.

The terms of both agreements grant the company joint ownership of any products or discoveries from the projects.

Incogen Licenses VIBE Software to US Naval Research Lab

Incogen said last week that it has licensed its VIBE (Visual Integrated Bioinformatics Environment) data pipelining software to the United States Naval Research Laboratory.

NRL, which develops technologies for maritime applications, plans to use the software in its ongoing life science research programs.

Genome Canada to Host Computational Genomics Course

Genome Canada will hold a bioinformatics workshop, “Applied Computational Genomics,” at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, June 12-20.

The course is designed to introduce wet-lab researchers familiar with web-based bioinformatics tools to scripting and automation tools designed for server-based Unix environments.

Topics include basic Unix skills, Perl scripting, BioPerl, SeqHound, BioMoby, BIND, and genome annotation with TimeLogic and GeneMatcher hardware, among others.

Further information is available at

Eastern Michigan University Launches Bioinformatics Masters Program

Eastern Michigan University said that its Board of Regents had approved a new master's of science program in bioinformatics on March 16.

The program will be partially supported by a $50,000 grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and will offer 34-35 hours of course work in in science, computer science, statistics, and business management.

The first students in the program were admitted in fall 2003, through the university’s Individualized Studies Program, while the program waited formal approval. Students graduating from the program in 2005 will receive the first degrees in bioinformatics.


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