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InforMax Adds Shared Database Option to Vector NTI; Enables Collaborative Research

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Recognizing the value of sharing data among colleagues, InforMax of Rockville, Md., has decided to unlock its popular Vector NTI Suite of bioinformatics software from the desktop and offer it with a shared database option.

Vector NTI Enterprise, as the new option is called, incorporates a shared Oracle database into the network of Vector NTI Suite applications designed for real-time collaboration among multiple researchers in a secure environment. Data can be transferred freely between the desktop database and the shared database and viewed with a database explorer. The new shared database can save all types of data found in the Vector NTI Suite desktop database.

The Vector NTI Suite application programs include: Vector NTI for mapping and illustration, primer design and analysis, and strategic recombinant design; BioPlot for protein and nucleic acid sequence analysis; AlignX for multiple sequence alignment; ContigExpress for sequencing project management and fragment assembly; and 3D-Mol for structure analysis and visualization.

“In a sense Vector Enterprise is an add-on to Vector 6.0,” said Peter Covitz, vice president of professional services at InforMax. “The actual user applications are the same.”

Except, that is, that the ability to perform local Blast searches on the customer’s own server is now available through the Vector Enterprise server. “That was just put there to facilitate rapid sequence comparisons that people might want to do within their data set,” said Covitz. “But it’s not really there for true data mining purposes.” Vector Enterprise just Blasts the contents of the shared Vector database.

The desktop version of Vector allows users to perform Blast searches against the entire US National Center for Biotechnology Information database, but does it out there on the World Wide Web.

For researchers that would like to search the entire set of public databases in the secure comfort of their firewall InforMax offers GenoMax, a software package that includes modules for sequence analysis, gene expression analysis, and three-dimensional protein structure for use in a multi-user environment.

The company said Vector NTI has over 20,000 users.

—Aaron J. Sender

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