The BioAnalytics Group said last week that it has installed its BioPathwise DM data-management system at Ventana Medical Systems, replacing another vendor’s software that had been in place for approximately one year.
Michael Otter, senior director for systems engineering at Ventana, told BioInform that the company is using the system to manage large image files and said that price was one factor in the company’s decision to switch platforms.
Otter declined to disclose the provider of Ventana’s previous data-management system. He said that other vendor had offered to tailor its platform to better meet Ventana’s needs, but the price was six times more than The BioAnalytics Group’s system.
A five-user license for the BioPathwise DM server software currently costs $7,499. Five additional seats cost $3,749. Ventana has signed a “floating license” with the BioAnalytics Group that allows any five users to access the tool simultaneously.
BioPathwise DM , launched last spring, is the descendant of an earlier pathway-modeling platform called PathwayPrism co-developed by BioAnalytics Group founder and president Scott Lett when he worked at Physiome Sciences (BioInform: May 6, 2006).
The software is a searchable central data repository that researchers can access through a web interface. The system includes a scalable database and web server that is installed on a customer’s network and is designed so that researchers can upload data from the lab remotely.
Otter said that BioPathwise DM offers a flexible approach to organizing scientific data in different file formats. For example, he said, “rather than store image data, I’ve used the software to store a whole experiment including raw data and analysis tools specifically created to generate the result.”
Lett told BioInform that the Ventana agreement is the latest step in a four-year partnership between the companies.
“Rather than store image data, I’ve used the software to store a whole experiment including raw data and analysis tools specifically created to generate the result.”
“The relationship originally began with fee-for-service research and software development,” Lett said. “Licensing BioPathwise DM now represents the first time Ventana has licensed BioAnalytics Group technology.”
Despite this relationship, the bid for Ventana’s business was competitive, Lett said.
“Ventana is trying to be a leader so they are always evaluating outside technologies and providers of those technologies,” he said.
Lett said BioPathwise DM is attractive to biomedical researchers that have historically had difficulty accessing experimental data.
“They were storing files on spreadsheets or on their hard drive or thumb drives,” he said. “And they were using long file names to describe the experiment in enough detail so they could find the data from another experiment later.”
He said that “this is almost universally true, not just at Ventana. We were surprised at first to see the same phenomenon in large and small companies as well as university laboratories. All of the major stakeholders — universities, companies, government funding agencies, scientific journals, and investors — are asking for better data management. ”
For researchers who are currently grappling with “hundreds of gigabytes” of data, the problem is even more difficult, he said. “It’s sometimes taken our collaborators days, weeks, or even months to find [the relevant data] so we could finish work with them.”
He said that BioPathwise circumvents such hurdles by saving the laboratory data together with the information about the experiment, making it possible to find and interpret the data later.
Lett said that data will be captured by the software in the laboratory, and can be accessed “from anywhere on the internet, making it very convenient to find the data later form the office, at home, or while traveling.”