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Pharmaceuticals Authors: Jolie Conahan, Jason Bloomberg

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.NET News: Microsoft Team Up with Agilent Technologies, Applied Biosystems and Illumina

To Accelerate Work in Biomarker Discovery

At the Microsoft’s biotechnology Executive Forum, Microsoft announced the initiation of the BioIT Alliance’s second proof of concept, called the Biomarkers Project, along with an update on the Alliance’s first proof of concept, the Collaborative Molecular Environment. The BioIT Alliance is a cross-industry group working to integrate science and technology to accelerate the pace of drug discovery and realize the potential of personalized medicine. The early focus of the Alliance has been to address the data-capture and data-integration challenges that face the industry.

“The life sciences offer one of the best opportunities for information technology to accelerate the pace of drug discovery and development,” said Craig Mundie, chief research and strategy officer at Microsoft. “Our collaboration in the Alliance will help the life science industry move discoveries from the lab to the clinic much faster.”

The Biomarkers Project: Initiation of Second Proof of Concept

“One of the most important fields of research today is in gaining an understanding of the relationship between genetic traits and clinical outcomes,” said Dr. Michael Hanley, vice president of Discovery Research at Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc. “The research and pharmaceutical community is hindered by the lack of integration among the software tools that are used to gain this insight.”

To address these challenges of software integration, the BioIT Alliance is collaborating on its second proof of concept, the Biomarkers Project. This undertaking will simplify the process for identifying and validating genomic biomarkers — the characteristics that indicate the presence of a disease or the likely efficacy of a drug. Agilent Technologies, Applied Biosystems and Illumina Inc. will work in cooperation with Microsoft and other software developers to ensure that their data products and content are accessible, enabling independent software vendors (ISVs) to develop off-the-shelf solutions for biomedical research and life science companies.

“Since Illumina’s inception, our philosophy has been to be collaborative in nature,” said Scott Kahn, chief information officer at Illumina Inc. “In fact, our software is designed this way, with open data access as a fundamental requirement. The BioIT Alliance aligns very well with this approach, and we are proud to be a part of an effort that moves genomics research forward.”

“As leaders in the industry, we feel a responsibility to move toward open and cooperative sharing of data,” said John Oakley, chief architect at Applied Biosystems. “Through the BioIT Alliance, we are committed to ensuring our data are accessible to ISVs so they can begin to build solutions that help customers manage and access that data in a more effective way.”

The Collaborative Molecular Environment: Results of First Proof of Concept

In April, the Alliance announced the first proof of concept, the Collaborative Molecular Environment, which was developed by Alliance member InterKnowlogy, with input from Dr. Peter Kuhn of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), and has since been deployed at TSRI. The application will use advanced visualization and annotation with Windows Vista, Windows Presentation Foundation and the collaborative features of Microsoft SharePoint Products and Technologies to enable researchers to store data in electronic format and search and retrieve it effectively.

More Stories By .NETDJ News Desk

.NETDJ News Desk monitors Microsoft .NET and its related technologies, including Silverlight, to present IT professionals with news, updates on technology advances, business trends, new products and standards, and insight.

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