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Genedata, Kluyver Centre enter fermentation collaboration
BASEL, Switzerland—In a bid to boost opportunities in the industrial fermentation market, including pharmaceuticals, the Netherlands' Kluyver Centre—a joint industry and academic consortium that applies genomics to improve industrial fermentation—has turned to Swiss bioinformatics company Genedata.
"The fermentation industry wants to optimize strains of yeast, filamentous fungi and lactic acid bacteria to enhance production of commercially important products, including drugs," notes Dr. Tobe Freeman, Genedata AG's manager of public relations. Genedata's ability to support high-throughput genomics data analysis will be key in that effort.
"We needed a research informatics partner able to support a complete systems biology workflow," says professor Han De Winde, business director of the Kluyver Centre.
The companies have been heading toward this collaboration since 2004, when Genedata met scientists from the Kluyver Centre, which is part of the Netherlands Genomics Initiative, at a metabolic engineering conference. There, Genedata was presenting a poster on computational solutions for metabolic engineering research and describing its workflows for comparing bacterial genomes.
"The people from Kluyver were keen to develop workflows to translate existing knowledge from one microorganism to related, but lesser known organisms," Freeman recalls. "This exercise is fundamental to production strain optimization."
The Kluyver consortium's interests are broad, with interests of the nine research partners including food sciences, agrotechnology, nutrition, healthcare and more. But while the focus may not be completely on pharma, there will be direct benefits of the collaboration for drug discovery—such as in the area of antibiotic development—as better bioinformatics technologies for industrial fermentation are developed, Freeman says.
Among the strengths that Genedata brings to the table is a proven ability to develop computational solutions tailored toward multi-site, multi-year research programs, according to Dr. Othmar Pfannes, CEO of Genedata.
"Our computational solutions anticipate the evolving needs of research groups that adopt a systems biology approach," he says.
Genedata may also play a critical role in expanding the center's work, Freeman notes, because the Kluyver Centre is keen to attract further industrial partners and academic alliances in the United States and across Europe.