Delta Search Labs, a Cambridge, Mass.-based R&D firm, may be lending its supercomputing and visualization technology to Proteome Systems’ next generation of proteomics technology.
Last week, the companies announced a memorandum of understanding “to explore commercial opportunities at the intersection of computational engineering and proteomics.” John Zhang, vice president of engineering at Delta Search Labs, provided few details about the company’s technology, but said the companies would be focusing on the area of image analysis.
Proteome Systems, which is based in Sydney, Australia, with offices in Boston, will have access to Delta Search Labs’ supercomputing facility and a FakeSpace Systems CAVE immersive computing environment. The company was founded in January 2000 and has around 25 researchers who specialize in pattern recognition, image processing, and data mining — technology areas “with high impact potential for proteomic technology,” said Keith Williams, CEO of Proteome Systems.
Zhang said that while other local biotech companies currently use Delta Search Labs’ supercomputing facilities, the potential partnership with Proteome Systems would be the first life science application of proprietary pattern recognition algorithms the company is developing. Cognizant that bioinformatics already uses many pattern recognition approaches, Zhang said that Delta Search Labs has a new take on an old problem. While most pattern recognition technologies match a single query image to multiple known images one-by-one, “We’re doing the analysis of multiple images at once,” he said.
Zhang said its existing algorithms would have to be modified to suit the unique demands of proteomics, although it’s still too early to speculate about what those demands may even be. “We’re not biologists, we’re engineers,” he said.
Even the length of the evaluation process remains a bit fuzzy, as the companies have yet to determine how long it will take to communicate and share their expertise — especially considering the huge time difference between Cambridge and the bulk of Proteome Systems’ scientists in Sydney.
While the specifics remain unresolved, “we’d like to move as quickly as possible,” Zhang said.