LIKE GOOGLE FOR GENOMICS: Gene-IT genomic application gains more IP cachet with Canadian patent office license

The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) is the latest organization to license Gene-IT’s GenomeQuest—a genomic information service and software application that provides sequence comparison solutions for biological and patent investigators—joining a list of clients that includes the European Bioinformatics Institute, European Patent Office, Institute for Systems Biology, Monsanto, Pfizer and Sanofi-Aventis.

Jeffrey Bouley
WORCESTER, Mass.—The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) is the latest organization to license Gene-IT's GenomeQuest—a genomic information service and software application that provides sequence comparison solutions for biological and patent investigators—joining a list of clients that includes the European Bioinformatics Institute, European Patent Office, Institute for Systems Biology, Monsanto, Pfizer and Sanofi-Aventis.
 
This follows shortly after other news from Gene-IT that GenomeQuest had achieved GeneChip-compatible status with the Affymetrix GeneChip microarray platform. Both announcements are expected by Gene-IT to bode well for future business and to further expand the potential customer base for the product.
 
Patents and other intellectual property (IP) issues loom large, particularly in the arena of drug discovery, and GenomeQuest will enable CIPO's biotech examiners to participate in searching the most recent patent records using both biological and IP-sensitive search methods, according to Gene-IT, which adds that CIPO is gaining increased recognition as an international IP search authority.
 
Another high-profile IP-related organization that recognized value in GenomeQuest was the European Patent Office, which became one of Gene-IT's first customers shortly after GenomeQuest launched in January 2004. CIPO also is a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization.
 
"The adoption of our offering by a growing number of issuing patent authorities is a major endorsement of GenomeQuest," notes Ron Ranauro, chief executive officer of Gene-IT. "GenomeQuest is used by the pharmaceutical and biotech industry to discover intellectual property positions around DNA or protein sequence information, and that corresponds very closely to what CIPO does as a patent issuing authority. As organizations like CIPO sign on to our product and use it for their own work, it becomes more clear to our commercial customers how important it is to be comprehensive in doing IP searches."
 
Ranauro describes GenomeQuest as a kind of Google for biological sequences. But he adds that where Google is statistical and still involves a bit of chance in terms of getting the best results on top, his company's product does a much better job of giving customers all the answers they are looking for in patent searches. GenomeQuest also allows for the information to be resorted based on specific research needs, unlike traditional Web search engines.
 
More importantly, he says, the application helps take away some of the time that had to be eaten up in the past by staff doing more manually oriented searches of IP information.
 
"Rather than having a dedicated researcher who knows how to search for the information but does have the legal knowledge or the biotech knowledge to put the information into context, we can put the information right in the hands of the end user," Ranauro says. "It can be searched and viewed directly by the person who needs to put that information to use, whether a company lawyer or research director or whomever, and cuts out a lot of unnecessary middleman activity."
 
It is the equivalent, he says, of how people used to use travel agents but now are more likely to go online and use a service like Orbitz. "It's just more efficient," he states.

Jeffrey Bouley

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