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Thomson Reuters Acquires Entagen to Enhance Cortellis' Data Integration and Analytics Capabilities

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Last week, Thomson Reuters said that it had purchased Entagen, a privately-owned informatics company that offers semantic search and navigation software and custom development services to pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and laboratory automation companies, for an undisclosed amount.

Joseph Donahue, senior vice president for Thomson Reuters' life science business, told BioInform that all eight Entagen employees will join Thomson Reuters staff with current CEO Chris Bouton joining the company's life science leadership team.

The team will continue to operate out of Entagen's offices in Boston and Minneapolis and they will be responsible for maintaining and developing Entagen's primary offerings, which include TripleMap, a search, analytics, and collaboration application; and Extera, a semantics-based server system for aggregating and integrating data from heterogeneous sources.

Over the next few months, the companies will also work on integrating both TripleMap and Extera with Thomson Reuters' Cortellis platform. Cortellis is a web service that provides access to all of Thomson Reuters' life science information including things like competitive intelligence, patent reports, regulatory documents, pharmacology-based data, and systems biology and disease data in a single platform.

Last year, the company released a set of application programming interfaces that would enable researchers to combine their internal data with information from the company's commercial databases and other third-party sources (BI 3/2/2012). It also launched a Life Sciences Partner Ecosystem, a program through which it provided technology-based firms in the space with content contained in Cortellis. Partners in the program such as Entagen, Accelrys, IDBS, Certara, and GenoSpace used these APIs to pull information from Cortellis into their analysis platforms as needed.

The combined platform will offer a much "tighter level" of integration than was previously possible under the partnership program and will also include a set of new capabilities, Donahue said. "We are working on the plan and schedule for that right now, and expect to announce it in the coming weeks to our customers," he told BioInform. The new tools themselves should come on the market sometime next year. There are also ongoing conversations around renaming Entagen's technology using the Cortellis brand.

According to Thomson Reuters, it made the decision to purchase Entagen after both companies realized that they shared a similar vision in terms of creating an environment that would help users aggregate and integrate data from a variety of sources, analyze it, and use the results to make better research decisions. Aside from a shared data integration vision, Entagen's product portfolio offered analytics capabilities that worked well with the Cortellis platform.

By combining forces, the companies realized that they could jointly provide "significant value to our customers," and Thomson Reuters would be better able "to execute on the vision that we've gone out to market with the Cortellis platform," Donahue said. He added that the combination of technologies would provide an "environment where customers [can] integrate their internal information, third-party licensed information … or our content into a single application that can drive better decision making."

Initially, Thomson Reuters will focus on applications of Entagen's technology in the life sciences and healthcare spaces, but there are opportunities in arenas outside these markets that could benefit from the capabilities it provides, Donahue said. He said that Thomson Reuters will explore some of these new markets but declined to divulge additional details.

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