Is bioinformatics still a viable career choice or a business model?

If you are on linkedin take a look at the question posted by Jake Chen, Founding Director at Indiana Center for Systems Biology and Personalized Medicine.

One area where bioinformatics havn’t experimented a lot is probably adopting SaaS (software as a service) methodology for growth. Software being developed for scientists is still not that user-friendly. Bioinformatics have evolved; but has it been hijacked by engineers?.

Though bioinformatics companies have lost the sheen, the growing need for data analysis is unmistakable , with more large genome projects being announced everyday.

1996-2002 was a period when bioinformatics was the darling of budding entrepreneurs and scientists the world over. Depending on your point of view the industry is now either passé or futuristic. The only ones that made money were the equipment companies and the those making reagents. Propelling the acquisitions phase that is still going on, transforming most of the erstwhile famous names from pure play bioinformatics to drug discovery/development services companies.

The future is there as a CEO puts it “We’re just at the tip of the iceberg of addressing the real problem — helping scientists understand how to use software to make a discovery,”

surprisingly given below is a quote I found in the website of the Stanford University Center for Molecular and Genetic Medicine , for the class on introduction to bioinformatics for fall-quarter 2007. here is the actual link . I hope am not going to be denied an admission there for posting this. But I agree with it completely, and its time for the industry to take note

“There are a wide variety of companies trying to commercialize bioinformatics. Some of these businesses have been around for many years, but a lot of them are just jumping in with nothing but hype to sell, trying and gain some market share and position themselves as “leaders” in the new area of genomics, hoping to become profitable or get bought out before the venture capital funds dry up”.

Final week to register for 2007 Emerging Technology Awards

Final week to register for 2007 Emerging Technology Awards

Join the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal as we honor the companies on the forefront of technology and celebrate those who are leading the way in innovation and entrepreneurship at the 2007 Emerging Technology Awards.

Reserve your spot now! Registration deadline is Friday, October 26, 2007. To register please click the registration link below or email sjevents@bizjournals.com. For more information, call 408-299-1871.

Individual tickets $95 or purchase Premium VIP tickets for 10 with reserved priority seating and company signage at the row for $950.

Winners will be announced in the following categories:

  • 1. Biotechnology
  • 2. Collaboration
  • 3. Entertainment
  • 4. Green/Clean Technology
  • 5. Medical Devices
  • 6. Mobile Technology
  • 7. Resource Management
  • 8. Search
  • 9. Security
  • 10. Social Networking
  • 11. Internet Telephony
  • 12. Wireless & Networking
  • 13. Judge’s Award 
  • 14. And a special Vision Award for individual venture capitalists who have championed emerging technology.

Registration & Wine Reception 5:30pm
Awards Ceremony 6:00-7:00pm
Networking Reception with heavy hors d’oeuvres, wine and dessert 7:00-8:00pm.

Event Sponsors:

When? Thursday, November 1, 2007, 17:30:00
Where? Computer History Museum 1401 N. Shoreline Blvd., Mountain View, CA 94043
Click here to register online

Mergers Acquisitions Consolidation-Microarray Industry bubble in making- The days are numbered

Bioinformatics promise has already had its brush with plenty of resistance, not it seems the time for microarray industry with consolidation and acqusitions and megers announced almost every week. The slow adoption and too many fragmented with disparate standards has made the industry a victim of its own success.

the new kid on the block to unload its microarray and genomics business include Nanogen with its plans to unload its loss making microarray business, While the most of the biotech IPO featured in the market in the last 6 month in US have failed to generate expected results.

But pharmaceutical firms are racing to buy up biotech firms Roche has acquired 454 Life science,and Nimblegen and now Bristol-Myers Squibb is buying Adnexus Therapeutics for $430 million. Wyeth has bought Haptogen Ltd, which emerged from Aberdeen University five years ago, pharmaceutical firm Wyeth is the fourth largest biotechnology company in the world. PerkinElmer is planning to buy the cord blood banking firm Viacell Inc

On the the report of Bradstreet Israel warning on Sunday that majority of Israel’s publicly-traded biotechnology companies will be forced to halt their research and development activities in as little as two-and-a-half years if they do not alter their business strategies immediately, research company Dun & In many cases, biotech companies are not doing sales, but only conducting research programs,” said Reuven Kuvent, director-general of D&B Israel. “They don’t focus enough on raising capital or attracting investor things they must do if they intend to continue to be operational over the next few years.”

While Asian genomics and biotech companies like Biocon which recently sold its enzu=yem business to NovoZyme and Strand Genomics which was selected as TECHNOLOGY PIONEERS 2007 by World Ecconomic Forum and smaller startups like Ocimum Biosolutions which are now pumping vast amount of funds into acquiring genomics business across US and Europe are waiting inthe wings to take off . Still there are others racing to create the cheapest microarray and sequencing methods only time will tell theeir fate,

Laying with the Lions

The following article is one of the best I just came across which talkes about advantages of better collaboration in pharma companies.

 

The study and articles are on Act Magazine website

 

Toxicogenomics can change face of clinical trials

“Genomics is only the start. Proteomics has been around for years and metabonomics is an up and coming important technology, both of which are complimentary to genomics. But still I think that genomics will be the most successful and most predictive of all these technologies.” Dr Phil Hewitt  Head of Toxicogenomics at Merck.

Meanwhile Gene Logic Provides the FDA with Access to Toxicogenomics Data and Analysis Systems for Reviewing Voluntary Genomic Data Submissions, and Iconix Released On-Line Version of World’s Largest Toxicogenomic Reference Database ,

Microsoft life science

Well every one is writing about google and its foray into biology and life science, so what is going on with Other companies .

Microsoft started its BioIT alliance During 2006 and guss what Bill Gates said during the launch “Advances in our understanding of the human genome promise to revolutionize medicine and open the door to therapies that are tailored to individuals”,  means they have bigger plans. just like google entered 23andME

Founding members of the alliance include Accelrys Software, Affymetrix, Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Applied Biosystems and The Scripps Research Institute, among more than a dozen other life sciences and IT companies.

and the last month Microsoft has released Microsoft Computational Biology Web Tools as open-source some code for analysis of antiviral immunity

Hmm interestingly I found the project details hosted in Codeplex the open source project hosting the details are on at MSCompBio

And then there is Stochastic Pi-Machine the programming language to model and simulate biological systems- a research funded as part of the European Science Initiative

And then there is the webpage at Microsoft research for bioinformatics

But my favourite is this

Towards 2020 Science microsoft

to define and produce a new vision and roadmap of the evolution, challenges and potential of computer science and computing in scientific research in the next fifteen years.

and this beautiful image from the microsft website

Server Virtualization

Citrix Acquire XenSource to Enter Server and Desktop Virtualization Markets. So whats it has got to do with genetics and bioinformatics , XenSource is the leading provider of enterprise-class virtual infrastructure solutions Originally created by the founders of XenSource at University of Cambridge, the Xen virtualization “engine” is now developed collaboratively by an active open source community.

Scientists were using a 16-node cluster for bioinformatics especially in case of smithman waterman balast, with each node containing a single-core processor. Three years ago, dual-processor nodes became common, so that same scientist needed an 8-node cluster. And then when dual-core became standard, a 4-nodes cluster could take over. With virtualization you can blow it up to many more nodes with no need for any expensive hardware.

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