Unleashed seeking to harness new markets

Data management company Unleashed Informatics recently introduced its Unleashed Global Services arm to complement its bioinformatics software and hardware offerings.

Lisa Espenschade
TORONTO—Data manage­ment company Unleashed Informatics recently intro­duced its Unleashed Global Services arm to complement its bioinformatics software and hardware offerings.
 
Unleashed added the ser­vices after noticing how visi­tors used its portal to explore online products. "What we observed," says Eric Andrade, Unleashed's president and CEO, "was they start out with one product or service that they know and then they begin to explore the notion of integration. It's integra­tion of publicly available sources that is intriguing to them, being able to combine genomics with proteomics."
 
Data integration, however, is a large task for the small biotechs Unleashed serves. "It's a relationship that these customers require," says Andrade. "They need sup­port introducing a new tech­nology like a data integration platform and blending that with their proprietary data. We were getting that pretty much across the board."

Global Services draws on Unleashed's online databases, analytical and molecular interac­tion prediction tools, and DogBox Plus, a server equipped with mul­tiple databases and software for integrating Unleashed data with proprietary information. The new­est item, DogBox Inside, provides DogBox Plus software minus the server; both products securely maintain data behind the client's firewall.
 
Unleashed offers two versions of its databases: static, open-source tools plus curated commercial tools available by subscription. Since its launch in March 2006, Unleashed's open-access portal has built a base of 7,000 registered members from academic institutions, large phar­maceutical companies, and small biotech companies.
 
Unleashed sees startup biotechs and academic labs as its sweet spots. "Those two customer class­es have a real need to take the pre­cious dollars that they have and employ them to punch above their weight class," Andrade says.
 
Colin Aikman, Unleashed's COO, who oversees Global Services, notes that focusing cli­ents to marshal their resources is often a large part of collaboration. Unleashed customizes all services. "I know that every single company is different," he says. "Every single problem is different, and you can't come in with any templated solu­tions to these problems."
 
Most Unleashed consultants also worked with the Blueprint Initiative, a public-good research program founded at Toronto's Mt. Sinai Hospital to assemble bio­molecular knowledge into what is now Unleashed's Biomolecular Interaction Network Database (BIND). The group raised $29 million and spun off, forming Unleashed; Mt. Sinai retains an undisclosed per­centage of the company.
 
Unleashed has high hopes for leveraging its knowledge and strategies into new services. "Our expectation is that the Global Services business will gener­ate between one-fourth and two-thirds of our total revenues by the end of Year 2," says Andrade, with numbers evening out after several years.

Lisa Espenschade

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