PHILADELPHIA--Attendees at the Applied Bioinformatics conference here October 7-8 will hear about bioinformatics strategies used by large pharmaceutical companies' drug discovery efforts, according to conference cochair Lei Du, bioinformatics project leader for Glaxo Wellcome in Research Triangle Park, NC. Lei said the intent of the meeting, which will feature presentations by major pharmaceutical companies including Hoechst-Ariad, Novartis, Schering-Plough, and Wyeth-Ayerst, as well as representatives from bioinformatics companies such as Compugen, Genetics Computer Group, Molecular Applications Group, Molecular Informatics, and Pangea Systems, is to provide information on the general application of bioinformatics, tools for data management and analysis, and the application of those tools to drug discovery and data integration. "There will be a software side and a biological and discovery side," Lei explained.
The conference has a unique angle among the many events now scheduled in the bioinformatics field, he claimed, contrasting the meeting with the recent Genome Sequencing and Analysis Conference in Miami. "We don't spend time on high-throughput genome sequencing and mapping because the focus is to see how we can apply informatics to drug discovery," he said. "The Miami conference is geared toward the large genome sequencing centers. A lot of time there is devoted to species sequences and operational discussions that could get dull if you don't care, for instance, particularly about rice genomics."
"Conferences that talk about software and computer systems in informatics get into technical details of computer science," Lei continued. "That's a very different route than we're taking. As far as pharmaceutical companies are concerned, they don't really care what systems you use. They care about how you can develop and discover knowledge from the information rather than how you would store and manage and massage the information."
Speakers will address four areas: application of bioinformatics to functional genomics, new tools for data management and analysis, application of bioinformatics to high-throughput drug discovery, and data integration. The conference is sponsored by New York-based Strategic Research Institute.