SOMERVILLE, Mass.—In late September, visual analytic software company Spotfire Inc. launched DecisionSite for Microarray Analysis (DSMA), a drug discovery application that combines the visual capabilities of the company's DecisionSite interactive data visualization software with the microarray data analytics of Insightful Corp. According to Spotfire management, DSMA is the first application of its kind from Spotfire that drills deeper into a niche application within the life science and drug discovery area.
"Usually our customers will build their own targeted, specific application within Spotfire for their individual research needs," says Christian Marcazzo, senior director of life science marketing for Spotfire. "But because of the complications of integrating gene expression and microarray data they weren't building these themselves, but they were clearly telling us they wanted to use this kind of information within Spotfire."
In order to provide this kind of data, Spotfire knew it would need to look outside the company for a partner who brought strong microarray data mining and statistical analysis to the table. In mid-summer they found that partner in Insightful Corp. Using Insightful's S-PLUS predictive analysis software on the backend, the two companies have delivered what they feel is a new analytical tool to drug discovery researchers who are constantly looking for new and better ways to use their microarray data.
"What we have done is provide Spotfire with a package that allows users to get the power of S-PLUS and deliver it into Spotfire's DecisionSite software without needing to be a statistician," says Tom Dieker, Insightful's VP, North American sales. "When the analysis comes up, it says powered by S-PLUS, which is a good value add for Spotfire to provide advanced statistical analysis." Insightful also benefits, Dieker says, by gaining wider brand recognition for its products and potentially more sales of products, such as its more advanced S-PLUS server.
While DSMA is the first fruit from the agreement between the two companies, it is not intended to be the last. "Part of the framework agreement included the intent that we would look for other niche applications for our products as they made sense for Spotfire. Judging from the direction Spotfire is taking, there could be many other such products in the near future," Dieker adds.
"As we get deeper into our customers' organizations, we find more and more cases where there are specific requirements of a group of end users," says Marcazzo. "Often those requirements are around statistics, which is what brought us to this relationship with Insightful.
"The Spotfire management believes it is important to have a relationship with a top-notch analytics and statistics company. This will augment the user interaction and user experience we provide in Spotfire with the right statistical methods for the right applications."
Both companies provide software to diverse industries; both are also firmly entrenched in providing informatics solutions to the life science market. DSMA, Marcazzo notes, helps round out Spotfire's offerings for microarray analysis, which already included DecisionSite and DecisionSite for Functional Genomics. DecisionSite is used by discovery and pharmaceutical researcher in a wide variety of areas including target identification, genotyping, high-throughput screening and ADME/Tox and others.Insightful, too, has informatics packages for Taqman data analysis, genomics, miroarray analysis, cheminformatics and clinical trials design and analysis.