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Technology license: WRI, InforSense to develop next-generation system for translational medicine
June 2005
by Randall C. Willis  |  Email the author

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LONDON–Integrative analytical technology specialist InforSense announced in May the licensing of its workflow-based informatics platforms by the Windber Research Institute (WRI), a biomedical research center looking for cures to genetic and metabolic diseases. The two organizations will work together to develop a production-quality, generic informatics framework for translational medicine to be used by WRI and its clinical collaborators.
 
The licensing agreement centers around InforSense's Open Discovery Workflow technology, which "provides the means by which scientists can easily integrate whatever components they require, to capture this integration and process logic as a research protocol which can be modified to establish best practice, and then to create and deploy tailored services (e.g., via the web) to users," according to Dr. Judith Bandy, InforSense spokesperson.
 
Under the terms of the agreement, both InforSense and WRI will work to develop an advanced informatics platform that is suited to WRI's "top-down" patient-centric approach to life science, as opposed to a "bottom-up" approach that integrates data from all available experimental techniques.
"Their choice of InforSense technology was based on the fit between their 'top-down' approach and InforSense's ability to optimize the individual best-practice domain-specific workflows, ultimately resulting in a highly agile integrative decision-support system for systems biology," Dr. Bandy explains. "Integration between data types, specific software tools, comprehensive visualization and web deployment are seen as key to providing usable tools for research scientists through to clinicians."
 
WRI officials could not be reached for comment, but in a press release, Dr. Michael Liebman, CSO at WRI, says: "InforSense workflow technology will enable us to build solutions that are flexible enough to support the dynamic and iterative thought processes of our scientists. Combined with the ability to then deploy these findings throughout our research teams, (this) will enable our scientists to translate their research into real decisions that can impact patient care."
 
Dr. Bandy says InforSense will benefit from the agreement via a mechanism whereby innovations developed in the collaboration between will feed into future product lines for InforSense. In translational medicine, the healthcare paradigm is a circle rather than a unidirectional pipeline, moving both from bench to bedside (experimental theories tested on human patients) and from bedside to bench (evidence from early clinical testing extended to the basic understanding of disease). To accomplish this, however, scientists need to be able to access the data, tools, shared expertise throughout the process in a very flexible, ad hoc manner, for decision support.
 
"Clinical data is underexploited in drug discovery," Dr. Bandy concludes. "To enable patient information to help drive discovery, the process of identifying new therapeutics should be treated as a continuum and not separate discovery-development-clinic steps."
 
Code: E060507

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