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Unleashed Informatics, Fujitsu BioSciences, P2P Pancreatic Cancer Project, Integrated Genomics, Glycomics Software, Genomatica, BioTeam, InforSense, GeneGo, Nonlinear Dynamics


Blueprint Initiative Spins Out New Company; 'Dogbox' Cluster to Launch in May

Mount Sinai Hospital's Blueprint Initiative has spun out a new company, called Unleashed Informatics, that will launch its first informatics product — a hardware and software platform dubbed "the Dogbox" — next month at Bio-IT World in Boston.

The company was created in part with a CA$1.2 million ($970,000) grant from Sun Microsystems of Canada.

The Dogbox, developed in collaboration with Sun, is a standalone cluster based on Sun hardware that comes pre-installed with a selection of Blueprint's databases and software applications, including its SeqHound database, its new SMID-Genomes database (see story, this issue), and other resources. Eric Andrade, president of Unleashed Informatics and managing director of Blueprint's global operations, told BioInform that the product will be priced "orders of magnitude" lower than similar options from other vendors. The company plans to price the system so that a typical academic or commercial research group can purchase the system on a "discretionary basis."

Describing the system as akin to a Bloomberg box, Andrade said that pricing will be on a subscription basis.

Unleashed Informatics expects the system to appeal to pharmaceutical and biotech firms because it will allow them to run Blueprint's bioinformatics resources behind their firewalls. Companies with proprietary in-house databases will be able to integrate their information with the data in the Dogbox, Andrade said.

Christopher Hogue, acting CEO of Unleashed and principal investigator for Blueprint, said that the product uses an "active synch" approach to automatically upgrade the databases installed on customer systems.

Hogue said that Blueprint's web-based resources will remain free to all users. The drive for a commercial option came from SeqHound users "who were keen for a plug-and-play solution," Hogue said. "They wanted it packaged, and they wanted it inside their firewall."

"We don't expect to make buckets of cash out of this operation," Andrade said. Hogue added that "the notion of selling big-ticket bioinformatics systems to a few customers has not paid off." Unleashed Informatics, he said, is "looking to expand the market" for bioinformatics tools by "offering something reasonable."

Fujitsu BioSciences Now Under Fujitsu Computer Systems

Fujitsu has moved its BioSciences Group from its Fujitsu America division to Fujitsu Computer Systems, which is headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif., the company said last week.

Fujitsu BioSciences, which was created last May [BioInform 05-03-04] , will remain in Westwood, Mass., according to a Fujitsu Computer Systems spokeswoman.

No layoffs are associated with the move.

NFCR, Oxford, TGen Launch P2P Pancreatic Cancer Project

Last week, the National Foundation for Cancer Research, Oxford University, the NFCR Center for Targeted Cancer Therapies at the University of Arizona in Tucson, and the Translational Genomics Research Institute announced the launch of a new peer-to-peer computing project to develop drugs to treat pancreatic cancer.

The project, Screensaver-LifeSaver, is powered by distributed computing technology developed by United Devices and simulation software from Accelrys.

NFCR said that the program has now connected over 3 million computer users from more than 200 countries who donate more than 10,000 hours of volunteer computer time to cancer research each month.

Researchers will use the network to screen several protein targets related to the development of pancreatic cancer — aurora A kinase, aurora B kinase, PRL-1 phosphatase, and urokinase-type plasminogen activator — against more than 3.5 million drug-like molecules as potential drug candidates.

NIAID Renews ERGO License from Integrated Genomics

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease last week issued a solicitation notice stating that its Rocky Mountain Laboratory intends to renew its license to Integrated Genomics' ERGO database, gene expression module, and genomic data supplement.

The notice states that Integrated Genomics "shall provide to RML a one-year license renewal, including four quarterly data updates of existing genomic data, all new public genome data added to the ERGO database throughout the year, and proprietary customer data from any sequencing and annotation projects performed with Integrated Genomics."

Financial terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Agilent, Proteome Systems Partner on Glycomics Software

Agilent Technologies and Proteome Systems said last week that they will collaborate on a software system for analyzing glycoproteins.

Proteome Systems will make its GlycomIQ glycan-analysis software compatible with the Agilent XCT, XCT Plus and XCT Ultra ion trap mass spectrometers.

Glycomics examines how glycosylation — the addition of sugars to proteins — affects biological processes. Proteome Systems said that GlycomIQ includes kits, consumables, and informatics software "developed specifically for automated glycan analysis."

The co-marketed product is expected to be available this summer.

DSM Licenses Genomatica's Simulation Platform

Genomatica said last week that it has licensed its SimPheny modeling and simulation platform to DSM, a supplier of ingredients based on fermentation and enzyme technology.

DSM will use SimPheny for strain engineering and process development. In addition, Genomatica and DSM will jointly develop and implement within SimPheny a metabolic model of one of DSM's proprietary production organisms.

Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed, but include license fees and milestone payments.

BioTeam, InforSense to Integrate Products

InforSense said last week that BioTeam has joined the InforSense Open Workflow Partner Network, and that the companies will integrate the BioTeam's informatics clustering kit, iNquiry, with InforSense's KDE workflow environment.

BioTeam's iNquiry comes preconfigured with more than 150 open source bioinformatic and scientific applications.

Organon Licenses GeneGo's MetaCore

GeneGo has licensed its MetaCore pathway- and network-analysis platform to NV Organon, GeneGo said last week.

Organon plans to use MetaCore in pre-clinical research across "various therapeutic areas and departments," GeneGo said.

GeneGo said that MetaCore includes a manually curated database that covers all levels of human cellular functionality, as well as rat, mouse, fly, worm, and yeast orthologs, and functional information on more than 3,000 human diseases and thousands of drugs connected with pathway targets.

PerkinElmer, Nonlinear to Co-market Proteomics Software

PerkinElmer will offer its customers Nonlinear Dynamics' complete line of proteomics software as part of an expanded business agreement, the companies said last week.

The deal includes Nonlinear's ProMST mass spectrometry bioinformatics package and Progenesis image-analysis software, which PerkinElmer said it hopes will complement its high-content proteomics instrumentation platforms such as the prOTOF 2000 MALDI-TOF orthogonal mass spectrometer and ProXPRESS imaging platform.

In addition, the two companies will co-develop new proteomics software that will combine Nonlinear's data-analysis expertise with PerkinElmer's imaging, detection, and mass spectrometry instruments.


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