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Slicing and dicing data
January 2009
by Amy Swinderman  |  Email the author
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LONDON—InforSense Ltd. will provide translational research tools to a leading British biomedical research center engaged in Alzheimer's disease studies to advance the development of early diagnostic tools and develop personalized medicine treatments within mental health research, the business and scientific intelligence tool provider announced last month.

InforSense will provide its Translational Research software to the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre for Mental Health at the South London and Maudsley National Health Service (NHS) Foundation Trust (SLaM) and the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London, according to the announcement.

The InforSense Translational Research solution, including the InforSense platform, ClinicalSense, GenSense and BioSense, will be used by the Biomedical Research Centre for Mental Health to integrate and analyze patient, genotyping, transcriptomics, proteomics and MRI data to support the identification of biomarkers. Researchers will also be able to access and analyze data using the VisualSense interactive Web portal. The partnership is expected to be a long-term one; financial details of the collaboration were not disclosed.

The Biomedical Research Centre for Mental Health is the only biomedical research center specializing in mental health in the U.K. Partnering with InforSense will give researchers and clinicians the ability, for the first time, to directly access their entire patient and "-omics" data through a common data analysis platform.

InforSense's software will eliminate errors associated with manual data processes and bottlenecks relating to data access and analysis by non-specialist end users, says Dr. Simon Lovestone, professor of Old Age Psychiatry at King's College London and director of the Biomedical Research Centre for Mental Health.

"As the largest provider of mental health care in Europe—or possibly the world—we have a huge opportunity to recruit patients for studies and do genomic studies on volunteers," Lovestone says. "The data deluge that results from that is a real challenge. It's a continual headache, of course, because the data itself is frequently held in multiple, different databases. We can make them speak to each other, but InforSense will ensure that they speak to each other. We hope InforSense will help us to corraborate our data, organize it in a way that makes sense and analyze it in a way that helps us understand the complexity that lays in it."

Simon Beaulah, senior manager of solutions marketing for InforSense, says the partnership demonstrates the company's market position in translational research informatics and commitment to using its tools to accelerate research into diseases such as Alzheimer's, breast cancer and multiple myeloma.

"When working with different bioinformatics groups, time-to-value is very important to us," Beaulah says. "We don't want to spend months and months designing translational research solutions. We want people to get set up as quickly as possible. One of the key things [Lovestone] was looking for was making data available to a wider audience using a consistent platform and breaking down data silos to make the application more broadly applicable. This kind of slicing and dicing of information is tricky to do with different systems. That is precisely what we excel at."

Lovestone says InforSense met its most important criteria in an informatics tool provider—mathematical and bioinformatics expertise.

"To be honest, there are companies out there that provide wonderful analytical tools, but InforSense absolutely seemed to understand our problem, which is about bringing data together. They are workflow experts as well. These are very big asks, and we're going to provide InforSense with challenging new data sets they perhaps have less experience with, so we will be learning together. But ultimately, they were the right partner to do what we needed to do." DDN
 
Code: E010905

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