InforSense last week announced two agreements that indicate that the company has been solidifying its position in the life science informatics sector over the last year.
On Monday, InforSense said that Tripos had become the eleventh member of its Open Workflow Partner Network — an initiative that the company kicked off in March to extend the number of third-party applications that can be integrated with its flagship KDE workflow platform [BioInform 03-14-05].
Later in the week, the company announced that AstraZeneca had signed a three-year global licensing agreement to use KDE across its worldwide R&D groups. The agreement is an extension of a pilot license for KDE that AstraZeneca signed in 2001 and marks the company's third agreement with a top-10 pharmaceutical firm.
Last December, InforSense signed a global licensing agreement for KDE with GlaxoSmithKline [BioInform 12-06-04], and in September, the company signed a deal with Bayer under which Bayer's medicinal chemistry group will have access to the workflow platform [BioInform 09-12-05].
Joe Donahue, chief business officer of InforSense, told BioInform that the company expects to sign an agreement with another large pharma "in the next couple of weeks." Of the remaining six out of the top 10, he said, "we have one other pilot that's currently underway, and three scheduled to start in our fourth quarter," which ends March 31, 2006.
"This is really the year where the technology was validated in some of the early agreements that we had, and we really started to ramp up the business side of the organization."
In the first nine months of the company's fiscal year, Donahue said, InforSense added 17 new customers to reach a total of 33 clients. In September, Donahue said that the firm had signed nine license agreements to date.
"We're making progress; it's been a busy year for us," Donahue said last week. "This is really the year where the technology was validated in some of the early agreements that we had, and we really started to ramp up the business side of the organization."
Donahue said that the Open Workflow Partner Network program is an "important" part of the company's ability to sign new customers, but he stressed that the KDE integration platform is not limited to resources from InforSense partners. He said the company can integrate "the majority of systems, tools, and databases" in most research environments "out of the box," while the rest are "easily" integrated using the KDE software developer's kit.
For example, he said, "a number of our customers have used our SDK as support for Accelrys and SciTegic tools, databases, and pipelines." Accelrys is not a member of the InforSense Open Workflow Partner Network, and its SciTegic workflow subsidiary — a direct competitor to InforSense — launched its own ISV partner program the same week that InforSense did.
Tripos joined the SciTegic ISV program over the summer [BioInform 07-04-05].
Donahue said that InforSense's agreement with Tripos "followed our project with Bayer Healthcare. They were an existing Tripos customer prior to licensing the InforSense technology, and I think from Tripos' perspective, this was a bit of a test case."
While InforSense does not require ISVs to join its partnership program to integrate their software into the KDE platform, Donahue said that membership offers a number of benefits for both parties.
For InforSense, he said, if a software partner "sees that a customer can be positively impacted by workflow solutions, they'll mention us and they can even show it. They have access to our technology and vice versa." For ISVs like Tripos, "If a customer says, 'What do you support from Tripos?' we can list the specific version numbers of technologies or components that can be incorporated" in KDE.
InforSense is also preparing a "major" product release over the next few months that will include a new KDE release and a number of new or enhanced domain-specific "add-on modules" for KDE, including BioSense for bioinformatics resources, ChemSense for cheminformatics tools, and TextSense for text-mining technology.
While Donahue did not provide a timeline for the release of these products, he said that some of them are slated for launch in the first calendar quarter of 2006.
— Bernadette Toner ([email protected])