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PerkinElmer's 'Ensemble for Biology' Suite Arises from 2011 Informatics Acquisitions


By Uduak Grace Thomas

PerkinElmer has launched Ensemble for Biology, a suite of informatics applications intended to serve as an integrated biology workflow for use in research and development, as well as in quality assurance and control.

The release is the latest addition to the company's broader Ensemble line of solutions for chemistry, formulations, and quality assurance and control. Each Ensemble suite combines several applications into a single software tool for specific customer needs and is also integrated with the other Ensemble products, Clive Higgins, vice president of marketing for PerkinElmer's informatics group, explained to BioInform.

Ensemble for Biology arises from the company's integration efforts following its acquisition last year of CambridgeSoft and ArtusLabs — whose portfolio included the Ensemble for Life Sciences platform (BI 3/25/2011).

The complete Ensemble offering steps away from PE's traditional "point solution approach" to provide an integrated solution that covers multiple aspects of the research and development space while also providing suites of applications for targeted uses. The product line is also linked with the company's instruments and reagent services, Higgins said.

He said that this broad integrated approach sets the company apart from competitors in the life science informatics market who offer solutions focused on specific segments of the drug discovery and development continuum.

"Accelrys may compete in the chemistry space, IDBS may compete in the biology space, and some of the LIMS vendors compete down in the QA/QC space," he said, noting that these providers "have a focus and an expertise in only one of the domains."

Ensemble, however, provides a "single platform where people who are performing chemistry can share data with other chemists but also can share data within that environment with biologists and then downstream [with] formulations [scientists], all the way into manufacturing," he said.

Ensemble for Biology provides biologists in pharmaceutical, biopharma, government, and academic research organizations with an "end-to-end informatics solution" that includes data management and organization capabilities and "streamlined" workflows. It enables collaboration and connection with downstream development and includes support for regulatory compliance and intellectual property protection, the company said.

Ensemble for Biology comprises a series of existing PE software products for data analysis, screening, and visualization. Researchers can use the suite of tools to search across experiments, compare multiple assay results, and generate reports using drag-and-drop techniques, as well as pre-made and bespoke templates.

Anis Khimani, biology product marketing manager for PerkinElmer Informatics, told Bioinform that Ensemble for Biology includes the E-notebook electronic laboratory notebook; and a number of products developed by CambridgeSoft, such as its BioDraw application for drawing and sharing biological pathways; and ChemBioViz visualization tool.

Ensemble for Chemistry, released last month, also includes software developed by CambridgeSoft, such as the ChemDraw and ChemOffice software and a chemical registration system.

These tools help users create, manage, and track chemical structures and associated data and properties, as well as integrate data from electronic laboratory notebooks, informatics systems, and databases. The system is meant for chemists in biopharma, the environmental and food and chemical industries, and academia and government.

PerkinElmer also offers Ensemble for Formulations, which allows users to access information on ingredients and excipients; record the results of formulation experiments; and analyze, visualize, report, and share their results.

Finally, Ensemble for QA/QC is a web-based program that lets users automate, control, and document quality assurance and control processes. It includes a tool called Asset Genius, which captures data from instruments in the lab and also provides visualization capabilities.

PerkinElmer licenses the different components of its Ensemble suite and also offers bundled pricing, Higgins said, although he declined to provide pricing details.

Moving forward, the company plans to create additional integrated offerings for the life sciences and next-generation sequence data analysis markets, Higgins said, but did not elaborate.

In addition to CambridgeSoft and ArtusLabs, PE also purchased bioinformatics firm Geospiza (BI 5/6/2011) and Labtronics (BI 5/20/2011) last year for undisclosed sums.

Have topics you'd like to see covered in BioInform? Contact the editor at uthomas [at] genomeweb [.] com.

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