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Genedata, Kluyver Centre enter fermentation collaboration
July 2006
by Jeffrey Bouley  |  Email the author
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BASEL, Switzerland—In a bid to boost opportunities in the industrial fermentation market, including pharmaceuticals, the Netherlands' Kluyver Centre—a joint industry and academic con­sortium that applies genomics to improve industrial fermenta­tion—has turned to Swiss bioin­formatics company Genedata.
 
"The fermentation industry wants to optimize strains of yeast, filamentous fungi and lactic acid bacteria to enhance production of commercially important products, including drugs," notes Dr. Tobe Freeman, Genedata AG's manager of pub­lic relations. Genedata's abil­ity to support high-throughput genomics data analysis will be key in that effort.
 
"We needed a research infor­matics partner able to support a complete systems biology work­flow," says professor Han De Winde, business director of the Kluyver Centre.
 
The companies have been heading toward this collabora­tion since 2004, when Genedata met scientists from the Kluyver Centre, which is part of the Netherlands Genomics Initiative, at a metabolic engineering con­ference. There, Genedata was presenting a poster on com­putational solutions for meta­bolic engineering research and describing its workflows for comparing bacterial genomes.
 
"The people from Kluyver were keen to develop workflows to translate existing knowledge from one microorganism to related, but lesser known organ­isms," Freeman recalls. "This exer­cise is fundamental to production strain optimization."
 
The Kluyver consortium's inter­ests are broad, with interests of the nine research partners including food sciences, agrotechnology, nutrition, healthcare and more. But while the focus may not be com­pletely on pharma, there will be direct benefits of the collaboration for drug discovery—such as in the area of antibiotic development—as better bioinformatics technologies for industrial fermentation are developed, Freeman says.
 
Among the strengths that Genedata brings to the table is a proven ability to develop compu­tational solutions tailored toward multi-site, multi-year research pro­grams, according to Dr. Othmar Pfannes, CEO of Genedata.
 
"Our computational solutions anticipate the evolving needs of research groups that adopt a sys­tems biology approach," he says.
 
Genedata may also play a criti­cal role in expanding the center's work, Freeman notes, because the Kluyver Centre is keen to attract further industrial partners and academic alliances in the United States and across Europe.
 
"Bioinformatics expertise will be a key to attracting and main­taining these partnerships and Genedata's research informatics infrastructure will be important in this regard," Freeman predicts.
 
Code: E070610

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