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NCH, Transformatix Technologies Co-Launch New Biomedical Informatics Company

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Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Transformatix Technologies, a Davis, Calif.-based company, have partnered to create BioLinQ, a new biomedical informatics company that will commercialize software solutions for disease diagnosis and medical research.

The three web-based tools were developed at Columbus, Ohio-based NCH and provide a set of solutions for use in digital pathology, biospecimen analysis, and biorepository management in hospitals, academic research centers, and in the pharmaceutical industry.

BioLinQ will officially open for business in January, Kenneth Murray, founder and CEO of Transformatix, told BioInform. It will be located at the Dublin Entrepreneurial Center in Dublin, Ohio.

In the meantime, the partners are working on branding for the products as well as selecting an appropriate cloud strategy, Murray said. They are currently working with CliQr Technologies, a cloud-application management infrastructure provider, to deploy the solutions on the cloud in order to make it readily accessible to customers as well enable interoperability between the systems, he said.

The partners are also working on putting in place a pricing structure that would offer customers a number of options including a single subscription fee or a pay-per-use charge, he said.

The BioLinQ software suite will include a web-based tool that combines NCH’s operation and pathology workflow functionality with a backend database to manage and support the use of digital pathology and virtual microscopy. It includes tools for workflow management, an image viewer that can analyze and detect flaws in image data, and image file format conversion capabilities.

A second web-based solution provides tools to help users maintain a chain of custody from the acquisition of a patient sample all the way through to laboratory testing and analysis. The program lets users combine disparate data sources and also provides a scientific dashboard and interactive query.

The company will also offer a web-based laboratory information management system for managing biorepositories. The software, which was built to comply with standards set by the National Institutes of Health, provides users with capabilities to track specimens with full reporting and audit trail functionality.

"We are seeing, with the implementation of our software, the optimization of the scientific review process for translational research” as well as capabilities that support “visualization into the multiple dynamics of clinical trial data to aid in clinical study design," David Billiter, informatics director at NCH’s Research Institute, explained in a statement.

The tool suite also addresses a need for solutions that make it easier for consortium-based projects and large clinical trials to collaborate, which was a factor that played into NCH’s decision to commercialize its software, Billiter told BioInform this week.

For example, NCH has used the software in a cancer consortium, "which called for patients to receive rapid review in order to qualify for a specific trial,” Billiter explained in a statement. The NCH software made it possible “to quickly accommodate the consortium and more importantly enroll the patients in the study,” he said.

Rather than commercialize the tools themselves, NCH choose to partner with Transformatix in order to tap into the company’s market expertise, Billiter said.

“I think being able to partner with a group like Transformatix that has been there and done that, if you will, is advantageous,” he said. “I think it will also provide the mechanism to move this kind of technology much more quickly to the market,” where it can benefit disease consortia and academic institutions among other kinds of life science customers, he said.

Ultimately, “these solutions were developed with really one main thing in mind which is the patient” — specifically, “increasing cure rates in whatever disease type … and decreasing the side effects associated with treatment,” he said. “That’s the mindset within my informatics core, whether we are speaking to the muscular dystrophy group [or] the pediatric cancer group … the mission, the statement and the goals are consistent.”

When the tool suite goes on the market, it will offer additional functionality that isn’t currently available, including new visualization tools, algorithms for file translation, systems to handle big data, and a “collaborative command and control console for the systems that would allow … researchers [who] are in various locations to interact,” Murray said.

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