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LabBook Sees Bristol-Myers Squibb Alliance as Validation of BSML Data Exchange Standard

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LabBook signed on Bristol-Myers Squibb last week as the first major US pharmaceutical customer for its XML-Life Sciences Solution.

Under the strategic alliance agreement between the two companies, Bristol-Myers Squibb will have access to LabBook’s OSU Human Genome Database and eLabBook knowledge management platform. LabBook will also customize its Genomic XML Browser to enable Bristol-Myers Squibb researchers to access, visualize, and annotate data stored in their Accelrys GCG Seq Store database and integrate this information with other public and proprietary data sets.

LabBook said the GCG customization project does not indicate a formal engagement with Accelrys. Financial terms of the Bristol-Myers Squibb alliance were not disclosed.

The Genomic XML Browser uses LabBook’s BSML (Bioinformatic Sequence Markup Language), a publicly available data format that the company developed to represent biological objects in XML.

Wes Cosand, executive director of bioinformatics at Bristol-Myers Squibb, said the company had already been using BSML to standardize its data. “This enables us to efficiently integrate our various data sources using LabBook’s XML Browser and will help accelerate our efforts to bring drugs to market,” Cosand said.

The Bristol-Myers Squibb alliance “is an endorsement not only of our browser but also of the BSML standard, which has been adopted now by most pharmaceutical companies who use XML,” said Adel Mikhail, senior vice president of business development at LabBook.

A study published in January by London-based Silico Research indicated that 40 percent of biopharmaceutical researchers who use XML had adopted the BSML standard (see BioInform, 1-29-01). Mikhail noted that that number has “increased significantly since that report.”

In addition, Mikhail said that the free version of the company’s browser has been downloaded by a significant number of companies and academic institutions worldwide and that a “major public database” is planning on adopting the BSML format.

LabBook is planning on publishing version 3 of BSML within the next year.

— BT

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