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Lion Bioscience, Biomax Solutions, Prolexys, Biomatters, Aureus Pharma, Rescentris, Health IT Funding

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Citing Delay in Sale of Bioinformatics Biz, Lion Postpones User Meeting

Lion Bioscience has postponed its user group meeting, originally scheduled for next month, due to ongoing discussions in the sale of its bioinformatics business.

The company initially expected the sale of the business to close by the end of August [BioInform 08-08-05].

A company spokesperson was unable to provide details of the status of the sale or the reasons behind the delay, but said that because it is still "in process," the company decided to postpone the user meeting to some time in 2006. The company has not yet determined the date for the rescheduled meeting.

The meeting was originally scheduled for Nov. 8-10, at Sidney Sussex College, in Cambridge, UK.

Information on the new date and location will be posted on Lion's website.


Biomax Solutions Changes Name to Sophic Systems Alliance

Biomax Solutions, based in Falmouth, Mass., said last week that it has changed its name to Sophic Systems Alliance.

We are adding new software development companies to our portfolio of products," said Patrick Blake, CEO, in a statement.

The company, initially founded to partner with Germany's Biomax Informatics and distribute its products in the US, is now "expanding our alliance to include new members under a more appropriate name," Blake said.

Blake told BioInform that Sophic is "in discussions with other companies with complementary software that aligns with the core that we have with Biomax."

The company said that it was awarded a GSA Schedule Contract last month, which will enable it to sell directly to federal government agencies, and that it is opening an office in Washington, DC, where it intends to expand its professional services business.

Biomax's BioXM integration software will serve as the technical foundation for the professional services group, Blake said. He added that Sophic does not plan to develop or commercialize its own shrink-wrapped software. "We believe that there are companies that do great research, and great development out there, and if they're already doing that, why compete with companies that should be our partners?"


GSK Licenses Prolexys' Protein Interaction Database

GlaxoSmithKline has inked a non-exclusive license to access Prolexys' protein-protein interaction database, Prolexys said last week.

The database, which Prolexys calls the Human Interactome, contains more than 258,000 human protein-protein interactions.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.


New Zealand's Biomatters Snags $700K in Funding

Biomatters, a bioinformatics firm based in Auckland, New Zealand, has secured NZ$1 million ($696,000) in funding, according to reports in the New Zealand press last week.

Private New Zealand investors contributed $200,000, and the company received a Technology New Zealand Technology for Business Growth grant for $800,000.

The money will fund development and commercialization of the company's i-Seek product, which integrates genomic data from public databases in real time.

Last month, the company sold the first license for its other product, laboratory automation software called Cheesecake, to a neuroscience lab at Melbourne University.

Biomatters was formed in June 2003 and has seven employees.


Euroscreen Licenses GPCR Database from Aureus

Aureus Pharma said last week that it has licensed its AurScope GPCR database to Euroscreen.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

AurSCOPE GPCR includes information on quantitative biological activity data for all known GPCRs mined from the scientific literature and patents.

Euroscreen will use the database in conjunction with its in-house tools to identify new GPCR drug candidates. Specifically, the company intends to use the information to prioritize candidates in lead generation and optimization programs and in the design of chemical libraries for screening campaigns.


Rescentris Licenses CERF ELN to Undisclosed Pharma

Rescentris said last week that it has deployed its Collaborative Electronic Research Framework (CERF) electronic lab notebook at an undisclosed pharmaceutical firm.

The deployment includes the CERF-Notebook along with PatentSafe, a patent records management system from Amphora Research Systems.


HHS Awards $39.8M in Health IT Funding

The US Department of Health and Human Services last week awarded three health information technology contracts totaling $17.5 million with the long-term goal of developing interoperable electronic health records within 10 years.

In addition, HHS' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality awarded more than $22.3 million to 16 grantees to implement health information technology systems.

The first HHS contract, for a project entitled "Standards Harmonization Process," for $3.3 million, was awarded to the American National Standards Institute. ANSI will convene a Health Information Technology Standards Panel, which will bring together US standards development organizations and other stakeholders to "develop, prototype, and evaluate a harmonization process for achieving a widely accepted and useful set of health IT standards that will support interoperability among health care software applications."

Another project, "Compliance Certification Process," was awarded $2.7 million to develop criteria and evaluation processes for certifying electronic health records.

The third award, for "Privacy and Security Solutions," is worth $11.5 million. It supports the creation of the Health Information Security and Privacy Collaboration (HISPC), a partnership consisting of a multi-disciplinary team of experts and the National Governor's Association. The HISPC will work with around 40 states "to assess and develop plans to address variations in organization-level business policies and state laws that affect privacy and security practices which may pose challenges to interoperable health information exchange." RTI International will oversee this project.

Recipients for the AHRQ awards were selected from a group of grantees who received health IT planning funds in 2004. The additional funding will allow them to carry out the plans they developed in their earlier grants.

The awards join 40 implementation grants HHS awarded last year and bring AHRQ's total investment in health IT to more than $166 million, HHS said.

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