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Motorola, TissueInformatics Team up to Link Tissue Data with Gene Expression Data

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TissueInformatics of Pittsburgh is working with Motorola to develop a way to correlate tissue data with existing genomic and proteomic information.

“By combing the data, researchers would have access to a robust set of tissue information,” said Terri Glueck, the company’s director of communications. “They would be able to determine which genes were expressed both before and after a change in the tissue occurred.”

Using its QuantFX platform, TissueInformatics digitally captures images of tissues and then extracts specific features from the tissues. The information then is placed into a quantitative data format that allows users to map features and graphically plot the data.

The company has so far developed one specific application, DermaFX, which measures such characteristics as the thickness of skin tissue and maps features such as cell nuclei coordinates to provide information about whether cells are clustering. In the future TissueInformatics plans to develope other QuantFX applications for liver, kidney, heart, and lung.

Now, the company says, the next step is to link these capabilities to genomic data.

“The concept is to create this tissue database and correlate it with genomic data,” Glueck said. “Genomic information won’t answer all of the questions.”

Glueck said that researchers at her company and at Motorola are currently working on this project. TissueInformatics is also in talks with other genomics and bioinformatics companies about the possibility of teaming up.

Motorola, which has participated in two rounds of private financing for TissueInformatics, plans to combine the data the company’s tools can generate with the tissue-specific gene expression information Motorola gathers with its biochips.

Other companies such as Clinomics BioSciences have also recently entered the tissue micro- array market. Based in Frederick, Md., Clinomics last week announced the release of a host of databases in its Genomics Medicine Series.

TissueInformatics recently closed a $4.4 million private placement, adding to the $6.5 million the company previously raised. TissueInformatics expects to close its third, and largest, financing round later this spring.

TissueInformatics, a company with 40 employees, plans to begin broadly marketing its line of Tissue Information Solutions within the next 18 months.

—JF

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