Founding members including Accelrys Software, Affymetrix, Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Applied Biosystems and The Scripps Research Institute share common goal of creating a stronger link between technology and science.
At the Bio-IT World Magazine World Life Sciences Conference + Expo, Microsoft Corp. announced the formation of the BioIT Alliance, a cross-industry group working to further integrate science and technology as a first step toward making personalized medicine a reality.
The alliance unites the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, hardware and software industries to explore new ways to share complex biomedical data and collaborate among multidisciplinary teams to ultimately speed the pace of drug discovery and development.
Founding members of the alliance include Accelrys Software Inc., Affymetrix Inc., Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc., Applied Biosystems and The Scripps Research Institute, among more than a dozen industry leaders. The alliance also announced its first project, the Collaborative Molecular Environment, a data management solution to help make research more efficient.
“Advances in our understanding of the human genome promise to revolutionize medicine and open the door to therapies that are tailored to individuals,” said Bill Gates, chairman and chief software architect of Microsoft.
“By bringing together people from innovative life sciences organizations that span the biomedical industry, the BioIT Alliance will play an important role in the development of solutions that transform today’s data into knowledge and improve the quality of millions of lives.”
Life science companies have unique technical challenges such as the need for more comprehensive data integration solutions, better technical collaboration and stronger knowledge management capabilities. The BioIT Alliance brings together science and technology leaders to consider innovative ways to address these challenges and use technology to reduce costs, streamline research and market their products more effectively.
Founding members of the alliance have already begun to collaborate on solutions that target common technology problems faced by life science companies.
The first of these solutions is the Collaborative Molecular Environment, which will provide a means for data capture, visualization, annotation and archiving using Microsoft® Office, Windows® Presentation Foundation and SharePoint® Technologies.
Microsoft is partnering with alliance member company InterKnowlogy LLC on the project, which is being tested by several other alliance members.
“Bringing research results to the bedside and patients’ responses to the research bench is at the core of translational medicine. Our focus on cancer diagnostic and structure-based drug development demonstrates how basic research directly impacts human health,” said Peter Kuhn, professor of cell biology at The Scripps Research Institute.
“The Collaborative Molecular Environment developed with InterKnowlogy and Microsoft through the BioIT Alliance is a response to the critical need for productivity tools at the laboratory bench that connect experimental data, support decision-making on the spot, and communicate the data in context to other members of our research groups and our collaborators.”
In addition to making data easier to manage, early efforts of the alliance are focused on making data easier to share. Two member companies working on this are Affymetrix and Applied Biosystems.
The BioIT Alliance will also provide independent software vendors (ISVs) with industry knowledge that helps them commercialize informatics solutions more quickly with less risk.
Most efforts to unite the life science and IT industries are focused on developing technology to enable the early-stage drug discovery process. By addressing the technology issues that companies face throughout the development cycle and by working with some of world’s top technology providers, the alliance will help the industry move closer to making personalized medicine a reality.