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NuTec Partners to Build Zebrafish Database, Bioinformatics Software in Two New Deals

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NuTec Sciences of Atlanta, Ga., recently boosted its life science activities through two new partnerships: a collaboration with Zygogen to build a database of zebrafish genome data, and another with Daresbury Laboratory to develop simulation software with applications in bioinformatics.

Under the partnership with Zygogen of Atlanta, Ga., NuTec will help design the zebrafish database, called Z-base, as well as add new sequence information, and “structure it in a more friendly way,” according to Nina Sawczuk, CEO of Zygogen. Z-base is currently in preliminary form.

In addition, NuTec will write algorithms for performing comparative genomics studies with the human genome. Sawczuk added that Zygogen would add the sequence data as it becomes available.

Zygogen plans to use the database to identify genes in humans associated with diseases such as angiogenesis, neurodegenerative, and cardiovascular disease.

At Daresbury, which is part of the UK’s Central Laboratory of the Research Councils, NuTec’s European subsidiary will work with the lab’s computational science and engineering group to develop simulation software with a number of applications, including bioinformatics. NuTec is also supplying hardware to Daresbury and will support the development of applications able to run on the Grid, a network of distributed computers through which researchers will share data.

The software project will build on simulation software NuTec developed for the oil and gas industry. Daresbury will extend its capability in that field, and will also apply the software to data mining of 3D molecular shapes in order to compare them to potential drug compounds and predict binding activity. The software will also combine additional types of information, such as how the compound behaves in the bloodstream

“[NuTec has] made real advances in computational simulation for the oil industry and we can jointly extend our mutual skills to benefit life sciences and bioinformatics,” said Paul Durham, director of computational science and engineering at Daresbury.

A Daresbury spokesman declined to comment on the proposed terms of access to the software.

— JSM and BT

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