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Viaken, InforSense, Sun Microsystems, Scimagix, Amersham Biosciences, Nonlinear Dynamics, Platform Computing, OHSU


Viaken Shuts its Doors

Viaken Systems Acquisition Company (VSAC), the remnants of Viaken Systems following the company’s decision to sell off its IT hosting business to Apex Digital Systems in June [BioInform 06-24-02], has shut its doors for good, according to a source close to the firm.

The source, who asked not to be identified, told BioInform that the company terminated all of its remaining staff without notice on Friday, November 1.

At last count, the company had around 45 employees.

Company officials, including CEO Paul Zoukis, did not return calls for comment.

Zoukis replaced founding CEO Keith Elliston, who decided not to remain with the company when it was restructured in June.

VSAC was due to launch a new integration software product called Paragon this fall.

According to the source, the company will try to sell its assets and intellectual property to a third party.

After the restructuring in June, “it was just a matter of time before it was going to implode anyway,” said the source.


InforSense Launches Academic Grant Program

London-based discovery informatics firm InforSense has begun a new program to encourage collaboration with the academic community.

The company granted its first award under the so-called Academic Grant Program last week to Cambridge University’s Nabeel Affara, who heads the university’s molecular genetics group and specializes in spotted microarray experiments. With the grant, Affara’s group has licensed InforSense’s Kensington Discovery Edition platform and ExpressionBase data warehouse to manage experimental microarray data.

InforSense will collaborate with Affara’s group to add capabilities for cDNA microarray experiments to KDE ExpressionBase.

The resulting enhanced KDE ExpressionBase will be made available to other InforSense customers.

Yike Guo, CEO of InforSense, said, “InforSense regards such collaborations as strategically important for ensuring that the Kensington Discovery Informatics platform continues to provide comprehensive decision support applications to drive discovery research.”


Sun Taps Canadian Bioinformatics Resource as Center of Excellence

Sun Microsystems has named the Canadian Bioinformatics Resource, a distributed national computer network run by Canada’s National Research Council, as a Sun Center of Excellence in Distributed Bioinformatics.

Sun and the NRC are collaborating to expand a Sun-based grid computing network for the Canadian bioinformatics research community that the CBR initially unveiled in 1997.

The CBR, based in Halifax, offers free bioinformatics tools and access to biological databases to more than a thousand non-profit member institutions across Canada.

The infrastructure currently includes a central cluster of Sun Enterprise, Sun Fire, and Netra servers as well as Sun servers deployed at member nodes nationwide. The systems are centrally administered from Halifax.

The expanded infrastructure will phase in the Sun ONE Grid Engine software to deliver computer power as a transparent network service to CBR users.


Scimagix and Amersham Partner on Cellular Image Informatics

Scimagix and Amersham Biosciences have embarked upon a partnership to modify Scimagix’ SIMS (Scientific Image Management System) to work with imaging data from Amersham’s IN Cell Analyzer 3000 detection platform.

The IN Cell Analyzer 3000 can generate up to 30,000 high-resolution cellular images per day. The companies will develop a means to automate delivery of cellular images, along with associated annotations and analysis, into the SIMS database.

SIMS will integrate data from multiple analyzers in operation across an enterprise into a single, centralized resource so the images can be searched, mined, and retrieved using a Web-based browser.

Scimagix said it would develop various new interfaces for detection platforms, analysis algorithms, and databases under the collaboration.

Nonlinear Signs European Distributor

Nonlinear Dynamics, based in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, has selected a partner to sell its products across the Channel. Aphelys, based in Plaisir, France, will distribute several of Nonlinear’s image analysis and database software solutions throughout France.

According to Nonlinear, France is the third largest life science market in Europe after the UK and Germany, and the company is committed to establishing strong brand recognition for its Phoretix 1D, 2D, and array image analysis software in the country.


Platform, Matrix Science Integrate Mascot and LSF

Toronto-based Platform Computing has added Matrix Science’s Mascot protein database search software to the list of bioinformatics applications integrated with its LSF enterprise grid solution.

As a Platform Computing technology partner, Matrix Science has integrated LSF with Mascot so that search tasks can be scheduled and prioritized in line with LSF policies.

“We believe the integration of Platform LSF and Mascot will enable pharmaceutical companies to use their computing resources more efficiently, removing bottlenecks in their proteomics workflow,” said John Cottrell, director of Matrix Science, in a statement.

Mascot currently runs on Microsoft Windows NT/2000/XP, Intel and Alpha Linux, Solaris, Compaq Tru64 Unix, SGI Irix, and IBM AIX.


New Biomedical Informatics Degree Program at OHSU

Oregon Health and Sciences University (OHSU) has launched a new PhD program in biomedical informatics.

The university is currently accepting applications for enrollment in Fall 2003.

OHSU already offers a master’s degree in biomedical informatics. The new program will add more advanced courses with an emphasis on research “that will allow students to make novel contributions to the field through the requirements of a doctoral dissertation.”

The program will also require advanced training in a cognate area, such as computer science, biomedical engineering, environmental science engineering, public health, nursing, or education.

It is expected that most students will take 18-24 months to complete coursework and take qualifying exams, and another 12-24 months to conduct independent research, prepare a dissertation, and publicly present and orally defend it.

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