FOSTER CITY, Calif.—In a move to enhance the ability of researchers to study differential gene expression, life sciences company Applied Biosystems and GeneGo, a provider of software and databases for systems biology, have entered into a collaboration under which GeneGo has integrated the Applied Biosystems Tissue Gene Expression Database into its MetaCore data mining platform. The integration of this proprietary data into MetaCore is expected to save researchers both time and costs that would otherwise be required to generate comparable comprehensive and high-quality curated data.
"The whole idea is to give researchers good baseline data when looking at tissue samples," says Chris Grimley, product line director for Applied Biosystems. "By giving them this sort of data from the start, it makes their jobs much easier. Alternately, if you don't have this data already at hand, then you have to go through the process of generating it yourself, and that means extra time and extra money expended."
According to Applied Bio, the tissue expression database is a proprietary dataset of genome-wide gene expression values from 31 normal tissues and a "universal human reference RNA" which can serve as a baseline reference for microarray results and a source for identifying tissue-specific genes.
The combined Applied Bio-GeneGo solution is said to be particularly useful in facilitating microarray experiments, such as comparing gene expression changes in normal versus diseased or treated human tissues.
"Organ, tissue and cell type specificity are extremely important in human and other mammalian gene expression analysis," says Tatiana Nikolskaya, CSO and founder of GeneGo. "The Applied Biosystems Tissue Expression Database is high-quality, standardized and very well annotated data. We have integrated it as a tissue expression filter in our latest product release to replace the publicly available, but less consistent, UniGene data, and look forward to collaborating on additional ways to leverage our complementary solutions."
Grimley agrees that there are potential opportunities for further collaboration, but declined to speculate on what form such collaborations might take.
Although neither side is commenting on the specific financial details of the deal, Grimley notes that MetaCore's popularity in the research community was a key reason for teaming with GeneGo. "Working with GeneGo allows us to reach their very wide install base, which includes a number of academic institutions," he says.
MetaCore is used by major pharmaceutical companies and numerous academic institutions for target selection and validation, identification of biomarkers for disease states and toxicology analysis. According to GeneGo and Applied Bio, the integrated analyses afforded by using MetaCore helps accelerate the drug discovery and development process and also helps eliminate drug candidates that will have harmful side effects or interactions before they are tested in humans.