Partnering on pathways

GeneGo links informatics software to Sigma-Aldrich products

Amy Swinderman
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ST. JOSEPH, Mich.— Seeking to give their customers fast and easy access to relevant compounds that are in their pathways of interest, systems biology tool developer GeneGo Inc. and life science and technology company Sigma-Aldrich Corp. have teamed up to give that effort a one-click solution.

Under a partnership agreement announced in January, GeneGo has launched access to many Sigma-Aldrich life science and chemistry products from its MetaCore 6.0, MetaDrug and Eureka! cheminformatics and bioinformatics software. Using this integration, which went live at the end of November, customers will be able to retrieve comprehensive information on drugs and compounds and make purchases all from one centralized location. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

According to both companies, the many pharmaceutical and biotechnology customers they have in common were seeking an easy, comprehensive way to both retrieve information and access product vendors. Customers will be able to access Sigma-Aldrich products from the "Drug Details" pages of MetaCore 6.0, which allows for knowledge mining, data mining and analysis using pathways; MetaDrug, which is used for drug repositioning, lead prioritization and understanding mode-of-action; and Eureka!, a knowledge mining tool.

"MetaCore … also includes species specific interactions and multi-step, manually curated pathways for human, mouse and rat. We cover other species by orthologs," adds Julie Bryant, GeneGo's vice president of business development. "MetaDrug is for systems pharmacology where you can start with a compound name or structure, predict metabolites and understand what is happening in pathways. Eureka! … is easy to use and available to bench scientists, managers, marketing specialists, competitive analysis groups and librarians. It has one Google-like box. You type in a gene, protein, compound or disease and it will search GeneGo's high-quality, manually curated database to bring back only relevant results. This save a lot of time."

It also moves customers toward a more pathway-centric approach as they build their hypotheses in GeneGo tools and test them experimentally, Bryant says.

"We have made it easy for people to find relevant compounds in their pathways of interest by having a one-click solution over to Sigma Aldrich, and they can buy the compounds directly from them," she says. "Before, they had to research what compounds they wanted to test and then go on line to find who sells these compounds and then find the relevant web page and make a purchase. Now, they just order what they need from the interactive research, development and clinical tools available from GeneGo."

Nathan Allen, market segment manager at Sigma-Aldrich, says the integration will also make quick work of what to date has been a cumbersome research process.

"This solution is going to be helpful for customers in that it gives access to Sigma-Aldrich products at the exact time they realize they need a specific biomolecular compound," Allen says. "This will add efficiency and save the scientists the trouble of searching for vendors who can give them what they need."

The integration involved about 15,000 Sigma-Aldrich products, and the company may further invest in adding other products to the new functionality, Allen says.

"We went live toward the end of November, and this hasn't been highly publicized yet, but we are already seeking customers using the product links available," he says. "Feedback so far has been great because the customers appreciate having products presented to them at that stage of their research. It's definitely been very beneficial."

GeneGo, which has comparable partnerships with Millipore and Life Technologies, will be announcing additional similar relationships in the near future, Bryant adds.

Amy Swinderman

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