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January 2011
by Lloyd Dunlap  |  Email the author

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LONDON—Thomson Reuters has acquired GeneGo, the self-described "GPS in pathway analysis," which provides biology and disease information, analytics and decision-support solutions for pharmaceutical research and development.
 
Effective immediately, GeneGo will become part of the Healthcare & Science business of Thomson Reuters.
 
Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
 
The acquisition enables Thomson Reuters to provide the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and academic research communities with solutions based on the underlying mechanism of disease and potential therapies. GeneGo's scientific expertise and assets in biology-driven drug discovery complement the Thomson Reuters life sciences portfolio that covers drug pipeline competitive intelligence, patents and chemistry.
 
The two companies now serve many of the same customers, says Jon Brett-Harris, executive vice president at Thomson Reuters.
 
"The goal is to design, discover and bring to market drugs that will be especially helpful for specific cohorts of patients," Harris says.
 
Although a GeneGo spokesperson deferred to Thomson Reuters without comment, the company's website describes its mission in the following terms: "At GeneGo, we believe that pathway analysis of inherently complex high-throughput biological and chemistry data must be based on a fundamental understanding of human and mammalian biology. Over the last nine years, we have developed a unique approach of systems reconstruction for extracting invaluable knowledge from experimental articles and patents, structuring it in computer-readable form and storing in a semantically consistent database."
 
The derived data can then be used for functional analysis by a series of cheminformatics and bioinformatics software tools.
 
"To accommodate the complex aspects of mammalian functionality—such as coordinated expression of multiple genes to bring about a prescribed function, gene alleles in form of SNPs and mutations, RNA splice variants, protein isoforms, complexes and families—GeneGo has developed a database of novel architecture. The key aspect of its data schema is semantic consistency between the entities from fields of study as different as human genetics, medicinal chemistry, toxicity, systems biology and translational medicine. This consistency enables application of sophisticated analytical and search tools such as pathway analysis and data mining not available in public domain." Brett-Harris says, "Thomson Reuters now provides comprehensive decision-support solutions to help researchers striving to bring more effective medications to market. There is an increasing need for biology content, detailed disease insights and analytics to support R&D productivity and to enable a more personalized approach to medicine."
 
Harris notes that his company's healthcare and science business totaled $830 million in 2009. GeneGo will be integrated into the science space, which seeks to accelerate research and discovery among academic, pharmaceutical and biotechnology organizations.
 
"GeneGo is biology-driven and has a very strong domain understanding of diseases and the biology behind them," he says.
 
The San Diego-based company's capabilities include its MetaBase systems biology knowledge base, its expertise in analytics, data management and value-added services and its successful track record deploying decision-support systems. The management and employees have all been given contracts, and from GeneGo's perspective, it will be "very much business as usual," Harris states.
 
The company's founder, Tatiana Nikolskaya, will become chief scientific officer of Thomson Reuters' science business.
 
Thomson Reuters, with 2009 revenue of $13 billion, is a leading source of information for businesses and professionals in the financial, legal, tax and accounting, healthcare and science and media markets.
 
With headquarters in New York and major operations in London and Eagan, Minn., the company employs 55,000 people and operates in more than 100 countries. 
 
GeneGo and Agilent integrate bioinformatics technologies
 
ST. JOSEPH, Mich.—GeneGo Inc. also recently announced an agreement with Agilent Technologies Inc. to integrate Agilent's GeneSpring Bioinformatics Solution with GeneGo's MetaCore. 
 
GeneSpring GX 11.5 introduces a multiomics microarray and mass spectrometry-based analysis suite to handle transcriptomics, genomics, metabolomics and proteomics data in one application.
 
GeneSpring GX 11.5 includes a direct connection to the MetaCore pathway analysis engine that allows users to seamlessly upload expression data analyzed in GeneSpring for pathway analysis in MetaCore. This connection is part of every expression workflow in GeneSpring, allowing automatic experiment creation and entity annotation in MetaCore. 
 
"This will allow our joint customers to seamlessly work with 'omics data in the context of pathways," explains Julie Bryant, GeneGo's vice president of business development.  "MetaCore can concurrently visualize multiple types of data and will be able to take advantage of this new functionality in GeneSpring which will be very helpful to our joint customers."
 
Financial terms of the partnership were not disclosed.
 
 
Code: E011108

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