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Inpharmatica Makes Good on its Discovery Plans, Commits to Stay in Data Business

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Almost exactly a year after revealing its plans to move toward drug discovery [BioInform 07-09-01], London-based Inpharmatica has cemented its commitment with the launch of a new informatics-driven platform that it intends to use for its own discovery activities as well as in research collaborations.

The platform, called PharmaCarta, is a souped-up version of the company’s cheminformatics system, previously known as Chematica. The company has added the technology behind its flagship Biopendium proteome annotation database, along with several other new features, said David Ricketts, vice president of business development. PharmaCarta takes a “proteome-wide view” of the druggable genome, Ricketts said, and has the added advantage of annotation data available via Inpharmatica’s Biopendium development partnership with Celera Genomics.

Inpharmatica is currently in talks with several companies interested in putting the technology to work, Ricketts said. The company has a 2,500-processor compute farm at its disposal to meet the demands of its intended customer base, he added.

But the company isn’t abandoning the database business that brought it to this point. Inpharmatica has also expanded its line of Biopendium products with the launch of Biotech Biopendium, a version of the resource that allows customers to purchase components of the entire system for smaller groups of users, which dramatically lowers the pricing system. As a rough estimate, Ricketts said a two-user license using a hosted model would run in the neighborhood of $225,000 per year, compared with the other end of the scale — $1 million to $2 million for a “fully kitted” installed system for unlimited users at a pharmaceutical company.

Available modules include a site version that integrates customers’ proprietary data along with Biopendium’s data, an interactive genome threader module for structural annotation, and a bioarray module that allows users to access large data sets from microarray gene expression experiments.

Biopendium will remain Inpharmatica’s “bread-and-butter” business for the time being, Ricketts said, at least until royalties from the drug discovery business appear on the books.

— BT

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