Out in the open: DrugMatrix database goes online to enhance access by research community

In mid-August, Iconix Biosciences launched DrugMatrix Online 1.0, which provides access to a full-featured version of the company’s flagship product, DrugMatrix.

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MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.—In mid-August, Iconix Bioscienceslaunched DrugMatrix Online 1.0, which provides access to a full-featuredversion of the company's flagship product, DrugMatrix. This release makes theDrugMatrix database content and customized tools more readily available to amuch broader group of customers, including medium-sized pharmaceutical andbiotechnology companies.

"Our basic rationale was to make it much more accessible tothe research community," says Jim Neal,previously CEO of Iconix before its recent acquisition by Entelos and now chiefbusiness officer at Entelos. "Traditionally, we've done large deals with bigpharma company like Lilly and BMS where the database is installed behind theirfirewall. An online version makes it easier for us to get it out to peoplebecause an ASP [application service provider] model is easier to do than tocustomize installations at every company that wants the database. It also has alot of value for the customer who wants access to the data but doesn't have themulti millions of dollars it takes for a more traditionalcollaboration-licensing deal with us in the traditional model."

DrugMatrix will still be available as an installableresource at a client site, but one of the nice things about the new onlineversion, Neal notes, is that companies pay on a per-user basis, to the tune ofbetween $50,000 and $75,000 per year, per seat.

"Installed behind a firewall, you get unlimited use, butthat's not necessarily what all companies need, and many of them cannot affordthat," Neal says. "The online version allows a company to determine who needsaccess to the database and keep costs reasonable."

Researchers can access DrugMatrix Online from any locationusing only a personal computer running Windows and Internet Explorer. OnlineDrugMatrix allows licensed users to securely upload Affymetrix gene expressiondata from the Rat 230 2.0, RAE230A or RGU34A GeneChips and obtain DrugSignature similarity scoring as well as extensive comparative data from theworld's largest collection of reference information on rats treated with over500 reference drugs and toxicants.

DrugMatrix Online contains data from different tissues ofrats treated with marketed drugs, withdrawn and failed compounds andbiochemical and toxicological standards. In Release 1.0, 535 compounds havebeen profiled by microarray gene expression. Each of the 535 compounds profiledby microarray gene expression is also profiled in a suite of 127pharmacological assays and is associated with detailed compound curation. Eachof the microarray experiments in the database is a biological triplicate and isassociated with clinical chemistry, hematology, and organ histopathology dataof the treated animal. The assembled chemogenomic profiles on each benchmarkmolecule are made available in an integrated informatics system that allowscandidate compounds to be compared, analyzed and prioritized using sophisticatedbio- and chemoinformatics tools, including 135 manually curated DrugMatrixpathways.

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