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Bioinformatics Briefs: Dec 19, 2008

Insilicos Gets $900K NIGMS Grant to Develop ‘Ensemble Learning’ Tools
Insilicos has received a $900,000 grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences to further develop its “Ensemble Learning” statistical modeling technology.
Ensemble Learning uses a committee of statistical models to make a more accurate prediction than can be achieved with a single model and is particularly well-suited to large data sets of biomedical research, the company said.
The Seattle-based firm said that the challenge of Ensemble Learning is that it requires extensive calculations that require hours or even days. Insilicos believes that using the technique with cloud computing technology will “make this approach highly scalable, fast, and cost effective for a wide range of problems.”

UCB Expands Genedata Software Agreement
Genedata said this week that it has expanded a research informatics collaboration with the biopharmaceutical company UCB.
The agreement was originally signed in 2006 and covered the use of Genedata’s Phylosopher and Expressionist platforms for managing drug target and biomarker discovery data.
The collaboration now also covers UCB’s biologics and lead-finding activities in the UK and Belgium in the fields of central nervous system disorders and autoimmune and inflammatory disorders in the UK and Belgium. 
USB is using Phylosopher to store proprietary drug candidate information about biologics. The system relates therapeutic targets to protein-based drug leads, as well as sequence-based biologics reference data, Genedata said. 
In addition, Expressionist’s functionalities have been expanded to include data from much of UCB’s molecular profiling technology portfolio, the company said.

U of Washington Proteomics Resource to Use Proxeon’s ProteinCenter
Proxeon this week said that the University of Washington Proteomics Resource Center will use its ProteinCenter software.
ProteinCenter is a biologically annotated protein sequence database derived from all major protein databases to enable filtering, clustering and statistical bioinformatics analysis from single, combined, or comparison datasets.
Financial terms of the agreement were not provided.

CambridgeSoft, StatSoft Form Informatics Collaboration
CambridgeSoft and StatSoft said this week that they have formed a collaboration that will integrate CambridgeSoft’s knowledge management software with StatSoft’s data-analysis and data-mining software.
The firms will combine CambridgeSoft’s Chem & Bio Office solution with StatSoft’s Statistica software, which provides integrated graphical and numerical data analysis capabilities.
Paul Lewicki, CEO of StatSoft, said that the collaboration will enable scientists to “work more efficiently and accomplish more in one integrated environment.”
Financial and other terms of the alliance were not disclosed.

Optra Systems Joins Microsoft BioIT Alliance  
Consulting firm Optra Systems, which is active in life science and medical image informatics, said this week that it has joined the Microsoft BioIT Alliance, a group that aims to foster integration and industry standards in biomedical information technology.
Optra Systems works with customers to develop workflow management for image acquisition, storage, processing, analysis, and reporting.

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The Scan

Expanded Genetic Testing Uncovers Hereditary Cancer Risk in Significant Subset of Cancer Patients

In Genome Medicine, researchers found pathogenic or likely pathogenic hereditary cancer risk variants in close to 17 percent of the 17,523 patients profiled with expanded germline genetic testing.

Mitochondrial Replacement Therapy Embryos Appear Largely Normal in Single-Cell 'Omics Analyses

Embryos produced with spindle transfer-based mitochondrial replacement had delayed demethylation, but typical aneuploidy and transcriptome features in a PLOS Biology study.

Cancer Patients Report Quality of Life Benefits for Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors

Immune checkpoint inhibitor immunotherapy was linked in JAMA Network Open to enhanced quality of life compared to other treatment types in cancer patients.

Researchers Compare WGS, Exome Sequencing-Based Mendelian Disease Diagnosis

Investigators find a diagnostic edge for whole-genome sequencing, while highlighting the cost advantages and improving diagnostic rate of exome sequencing in EJHG.