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Oxford Molecular, Glaxo Wellcome Collaborate on Bioinformatics Pipeline


OXFORD--Oxford Molecular Group here has announced three new collaborative ventures that will expand its already significant reach into the bioinformatics market. The company will collaborate with pharmaceutical giant Glaxo Wellcome on the Bioinformatics Pipeline project, which aims to develop an integrated software system that reduces the time required to find proteins and genes that are promising research targets; it will distribute a set of sequence comparison tools developed at the University of Washington, and it will become the exclusive distributor of faster running versions of Southwest Parallel Software's bioinformatics package.

The agreement with Glaxo comes on the heels of a successful partnership between the two companies in developing DIVA, a cheminformatics data mining software package. According to Oxford, current bioinformatics software systems rely on multiple programs to assemble DNA data that are being generated by various genomics programs worldwide, and as a result, information all too often falls between the cracks. The Bioinformatics Pipeline aims to provide researchers with an integrated desktop system that channels all of a company's sequence data through a series of steps that allows the user to graphically identify, predict, and present likely target genes. "This will be an enabling technology that ultimately reduces the time to find new targets and will enhance the productivity of both the genetics and bioinformatics groups," commented Rainer Fuchs, Glaxo's director of bioinformatics.

The deals with the University of Washington and Southwest Parallel will complement Oxford's acquisition earlier this year of Genetics Computer Group and ultimately improve the quality of high-throughput software that is available to molecular biologists, the company claimed. The Washington deal involves software developed in the laboratory of university researcher Phil Green. The Southwest Parallel agreement addresses parallel versions of a suite of tools including the Phrap, Swat, and Cross Match programs. David Jackson, Oxford's chief operating officer, commented, "Signing the agreement with the University of Washington reaffirms Oxford Molecular's commitment to supply novel tools for genetic research. Our exclusive agreement with Southwest Parallel Software complements our existing bioinformatics tools and provides our customers with additional solutions for high-throughput genomic research centers."

"Our customers will ultimately gain more effective solutions from integration of our products with Oxford Molecular's desktop products, such as OMIGA," added Daniel Joy, president of Southwest Parallel.

Product Announcements

In other news, at the American Chemical Society fall meeting in Las Vegas earlier this month Oxford announced the initial integration of four drug discovery products and the availability of three product updates. The company claimed it is the first major company to begin integrating core cheminformatics and molecular modeling products. The process will link Oxford's Tsar 3.1 to its TOPKAT toxicity assessment software and to its RS3 Discovery scientific data management software; the company's DIVA product will also link with RS3 Discovery to provide comprehensive, enterprise-wide scientific data management; and the PC software CAChe 3.1 will link to DGauss to provide rapid property assessment for metal-containing compounds.

In addition, the company announced updates to CAChe 3.0; DGauss for the Cray T3E, to provide significantly faster property calculations than were offered in previous versions; and full customer service support for AMSOL 6.1, a quantum chemistry program that Oxford has licensed from the University of Minnesota.

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