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Delving downstream
February 2009
by Amy Swinderman  |  Email the author
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ROCKVILLE, Md.óRespond≠ing to strong demand from their academic, pharmaceutical and plant genomic customers, Ariadne Inc. and Illumina Inc. announced in late December they will integrate their respective software programs, Pathway Studio and GenomeStudio Data Analysis, to create a state-of-the-art toolset to quickly analyze expression data for physiological changes, cell signaling and other significant biological changes.

The integration aims to simplify the transition from statistical data analysis to biological interpretation. The companies declined to discuss the financial terms of the partnership, but said it could lead to further integration of the companies' other respective experimental technologies.

Pathway Studio, used by both academic and commercial clients, is a bench-top application that uses proprietary algorithms to analyze experimental data to perform functional analysis, identify regulated pathways or discover new biological networks. Illumina's GenomeStudio is designed to analyze both microarray and sequencing data, enabling researchers to correlate biological variation across multiple applications and create a graphical display of the results. Integrating the two programs will allow researchers to perform advanced downstream analysis, says Dr. Ilya Mazo, Ariadne president.

"Our software is used typically downstream from microarray analysis," Mazo says. "If researchers are interested in the biological interpretation of their experimental results, they turn to a product like ours. GenomeStudio takes raw data from Illumina instruments and does some normalization of statistical analysis. With this integration, you can press one button and it will launch Pathway Studio and send the data there. From there, people can choose to save the data in a number of ways. What they are doing right now is working with one software, exporting the results to other software and making sure the gene names and files are the same. This integration saves researchers a tremendous amount of time."

The ability to interpret data across multiple applications is something Illumina is striving to achieve, says Dr. Omoshile Clement, senior product manager of Software Informatics at Illumina.

"Ariadne is the first to offer a plug-in with our newly launched GenomeStudio software program. By providing a graphical representation of Illumina's microarray data, Pathway studio offers researchers a unique way to complete downstream analysis," Clement says.

Mazo says that the companies' mutual customers are seeking both a time-saving approach to expression data analysis and a solution that works for both industry and academia.

"We're certainly trying to help speed up the drug discovery process, but our academic users and people from core facilities are doing a lot of profiling experiments and using the software to interpret data, while our pharma clients are using it for knowledge," Mazo says. "We hope that by integrating with a leading provider such as Illumina, we will encourage the academic users to use the software for knowledge, and enable our pharma clients to use it for interpretation and not just knowledge." DDN
 
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