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Lion Adds Incyte to Portal Customers; SRS To Power LifeSeq Foundation Website

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Adding to a customer list that includes Celera Genomics, Affymetrix, and Derwent, Lion has secured Incyte Genomics as the latest company to build a web-based offering upon its SRS platform.

The two companies entered a licensing agreement last week that will place SRS at the heart of the web-based version of Incyte’s upcoming LifeSeq Foundation product. The agreement also gives customers who install LifeSeq Foundation behind company firewalls the option to use a customized version of SRS to integrate Incyte data along with public and proprietary data.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, although Lion said it would receive annual license fees and royalties for the portal as well as for any Incyte customer who uses the customized version of SRS to work with Incyte data.

While the data behind LifeSeq Foundation — an enhanced version of the LifeSeq Gold database — has been available to Incyte’s current customers since September, Sameer Rohatgi, director of strategic marketing at Incyte, said the complete product would not be rolled out until the data is fully integrated with SRS. Current LifeSeq Foundation customers have been provided with an API and a simple visualization tool “as an interim solution,” he said.

Neither Lion nor Incyte would provide an expected launch date for the online product, but the companies plan to demonstrate the combined offering at the Drug Discovery Conference in Boston in August.

LifeSeq Foundation will be Lion’s “first foray” into Incyte’s data, said Simon Beaulah, SRS product manager, and serves as a “great way of pushing out our XML functionality.”

While SRS will be the default viewer for the online version of LifeSeq Foundation, customers who choose to install the product in-house will not be required to license SRS. In fact, Incyte has an agreement with Acero (formally Secant Technologies) to serve as a sales channel for the Genomics Knowledge Platform, an integration product that had its beginnings within the bioinformatics group at Incyte.

“We aren’t marketing GKP,” said Rohatgi, who added that the company intends to use both platforms. “We’re not in the business of selling integration capabilities. That’s up to the customer. We’re in the business of making sure that information is accurately represented.”

According to Acero, the Lion deal is not expected to cut into its customer base. “Both [Lion and Acero] propose to provide a platform that offers access to multiple, heterogeneous data sources. However the approaches taken by the two companies are radically different,” said Acero spokeswoman Barbara Hagin. “There is ample room for both solutions in the drug discovery marketplace.”

While SRS “is designed for those needing a simple data collection and retrieval system,” GKP “ is designed for those needing an industry-standard, highly scalable enterprise system for data integration,” explained Hagin, who added that Incyte remains “a product partner with, customer of, and investor in Acero.”

Beaulah agreed that the two companies provide “alternative solutions” to data integration.

Both Rohatgi and Beulah said there were no plans to make the DiscoveryCenter integration technology that Lion gained through its acquisition of NetGenics part of the LifeSeq Foundation product.

— BT

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