Found in translation

InforSense launches packaged translational research solution, with Erasmus Medical Center among first to put it to the test

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LONDON—InforSense Ltd. is known for its custom informatics platforms. But now it has struck out with the first "productized" version of its technology, a solution that can be tailored to specific needs, but is essentially an out-of-the-box tool.

"What is unique about this isn't so much the underlying technology but the fact that it is a packaged solution," says Simon Beaulah, senior manager of solutions marketing for InforSense. "It's a combination of what we've done over the past few years with a variety of institutions with intense needs, like Walter Reed, Johns Hopkins and the Mayo Clinic. We've been seeing a lot of interest in this kind of solution. People have seen the work we've done in terms of genetic analysis, for example, and have seen how we can bring together clinical data with research data in a feasible way."

And, with better capabilities to integrate basic scientific research data and techniques with clinical research, pharmas and biotechs can improve their understanding of disease, the company notes.

"We have been working with many leading institutions to develop capabilities to enable translational research and we wanted to package this functionality together to support scientists working in this area," says Jonathan Sheldon, CSO for InforSense. "Our experience with clinical institutes and working with experimental data in the world's leading companies makes InforSense an ideal platform for translational research. Because this is such a new and evolving area, the analytical power and flexibility we provide is essential to develop and evolve new best practices."

The provider of embedded enterprise intelligence—with European headquarters in the United Kingdom and U.S. headquarters in Cambridge, Mass.—announced its new InforSense Translational Research Solution in late February at the HIMSS 2008 Annual Conference & Exhibition in Orlando, Fla. But the technology was already out in the field.

The company notes that several world-class healthcare institutions, such as Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherland, are using the InforSense solution in their translational research right now—though the others beside Erasmus cannot yet be named because of pending approval processes to mention them publicly.

"We are actively working in the areas of gene expression, image analysis and genome-wide association studies and needed a platform that enables us to bring these different technologies and data sources together with clinical patient data," explains Peter van der Spek, head of the Erasmus Center for Bioinformatics. "In addition, the InforSense platform gives us the power and process flexibility to quickly develop our own best practice analysis workflows and deploy them, via a Web interface, to our scientists."

"The InforSense Translational Research Solution aims to address a key bottleneck for innovation facing leading pharmaceutical, biotech and medical research organizations equally," says Keith Strier, national leader of the biomedical informatics practice at Deloitte Consulting. "By offering an information model that connects clinical with molecular data, InforSense offers a platform for more personalized and targeted medicine that is architected to serve the needs of both clinicians and researchers. InforSense is ahead of the curve."

What is interesting is that while InforSense may be ahead of the curve, some of its customers weren't as far ahead as the company had assumed.

"One specific area in which we learned a lot in the process of turning our technology into a product was that we had anticipated that some of our target customers would be farther along in terms of developing clinical data marts and data warehouses," notes Dave Menninger, vice president of marketing for InforSense. "But while some of them are where we expected or beyond that, we were surprised to find that some were not, so one piece we added was functionality to help with that. So if they have data marts and warehouses already, great, but if not, we have a template to give them a place to start."

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