Genedata signs on to systems biology work

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BASEL—February 9, 2007—Computational biology specialist Genedata AG announced that it would expand its collaboration with the HepatoSys research network for another three years. The move follows successful deployment of Genedata's Phylosopher and Expressionist systems to the academic systems biology program. "Cellular processes such as programmed cell death and regeneration of liver cells are of great scientific and medical interest," explains University of Freiburg's Dr. Irmgard Merfort. "Genedata will help us to identify new biomarkers for disease diagnostics and to pave the way for novel therapeutic approaches in tissue regeneration, cancer and inflammation."
BASEL, Switzerland—Genedata recently announced a collabora­tion with HepatoSys, a consor­tium of German research cen­ters that seek to understand the physiology and pathophysiolo­gy of the human liver using sys­tems biology methods. Together with the consortium's academic members, Genedata has devel­oped a computational system to analyze molecular processes in mammalian liver cells.
HepatoSys' multidisciplinary network will investigate sig­naling pathways, gene regula­tion mechanisms, cell signaling dynamics and metabolic activity in hepatocytes, the main liver cell type.
"HepatoSys will combine simulations of cellular events with experimental data analy­sis to yield novel insights about the complex biochemical func­tions of the liver," says Jens Timmer, scientific spokesman for HepatoSys, which is a com­petence network of more than 30 research groups from aca­demia, industry and clinics in Germany. The groups are fund­ed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research to sup­port interdisciplinary research, to establish methods and tools and to develop data-based mod­els of physiological processes in hepatic cell model systems.
Genedata already has developed an established computational plat­form for systems biology research, using Genedata Phylosopher for investigating pathways and Genedata Expressionist for ana­lyzing large volumes of complex molecular data. The platform is currently used by various research groups to enhance drug discovery and development. HepatoSys has licensed this platform to manage research data, and to integrate and analyze transcriptomic, proteomic and metabolomic data.
For the HepatoSys network, Genedata is developing a custom­ized integrated data management solution based on that platform. The customized solution will feature a specialized data man­agement resource to represent dynamic pathway models. This will enable scientists to store and exchange research results, such as mathematical models of cellular sig­nal transduction pathways, along with relevant simulation results.
Genedata notes that the systems biology approach is growing more widespread in industrial research circles, and adds that HepatoSys is pioneering the use of the approach to probing liver function.
"Systems biology will provide novel ways for a more efficient drug discovery process, includ­ing improvements to drug efficacy and safety assessment," says Dr. Othmar Pfannes, CEO of Genedata AG. "We are delighted to support HepatoSys with our computation­al solutions for investigating this clinically important cell type."

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