NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) — During the Bio-IT World Conference this week in Boston, Metabolon offered a first look at a new cloud-based solution it has developed called MetaboLync through which customers of the Durham, NC-based firm's metabolite analyses services will be able to access their study results and explore and interact with their data using internally built statistical analysis tools as well as pathway and visualization applications.
The cloud solution, which is the company's first externally available informatics solution, offers an alternative means of accessing its metabolomics analysis results that makes it easier to explore and interact with data than was previously possible, Corey DeHaven, Metabolon’s vice president of information systems, explained to BioInform at the conference. Historically Metabolon has returned reports, which can be as long as 70 pages, as Word or PDF documents.
The portal will also give customers access to in-house bioinformatics applications that Metabolon developed and has only used internally until now. These tools will enable users to explore relationships between metabolites detected in their samples and also look at their effects on underlying biology. The list includes tools to generate heat maps, pathway visualization tools — including a plug in for Cytoscape for more in-depth pathway analysis — so-called Surveyor Tools, which provide comprehensive lipid class profiling, and Wikiome, an internally developed wiki of background information on thousands of metabolites. Also, since the system is cloud-based, MetaboLync can make use of geo-replication technologies to prevent performance lag or latency problems, DeHaven said.
The new offering will be available later this month to customers of Metabolon's fee-for-service business through which the company provides biochemical profiling to academia, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, and developers of consumer products. The company works with clients to design studies in areas such as biomarker discovery, cancer metabolism, compound screening, gene function, drug safety and efficacy, gene function, and more.
Once a study is planned, clients can submit a variety of biological samples including blood, plasma, tissue, cells, media, and bacteria, and Metabolon's researchers perform the analysis using a high-throughput metabolomics platform that incorporates both positive and negative mode LCMS/MS and GCMS analyses. The data is then interpreted with proprietary applications that are part of a platform that the company designed specifically for analyzing metabolomics data. Metabolon's software is designed to match chromatographic peaks to an internally built biochemical library comprising more than 2,300 named and 5,200 unnamed compounds.
After the data is analyzed, data curators check the results to verify them before they are packaged into a report that's returned to the client — this entire process takes between eight to 12 weeks. Once their results are ready, customers will be able to log on to MetaboLync, beginning May 15, and access their reports there.