Researchers from major pharmaceuticals, Swiss-based computational biology firm Genedata and European Commission (EC) representatives met recently in Dublin for the Second General Assembly of InnoMed PredTox consortium. InnoMed PredTox is a joint Industry, Academic and EC collaboration to improve drug safety testing.
Tasked with exploring the molecular basis of drug-side effects, InnoMed PredTox is an ambitious project involving leading European pharmaceutical companies, academic research institutes and Genedata.
The gathering in Dublin met for an update on general progress over the last nine months and to discuss the consortium’s newly launched central data sharing portal. Biomolecular data from more than 20 laboratories is fed into a joint database, which is based on Genedata’s Expressionist platform.
Researchers use the portal via a secure Internet connection and have begun to share data and experimental design information. “The portal is critical for the management of the project’s progress”, said Dr. Laura Suter-Dick, Section Head for New Technologies in Safety, Roche.
Progress has been rapid, especially considering that the project involves cooperation between 20 independent research organizations. Earlier this year, members of the consortium met for an intensive planning session at Genedata’s headquarters in Basel. They agreed on critical design aspects of the database and on a sophisticated data analysis plan.
The InnoMed PredTox collaboration with Genedata is laying the foundation for toxicology to exploit genome-wide biological data in drug development. Genechip microarrays, 2D-gel and mass spectromerty experimental data is combined with conventional toxicology findings and clinical chemistry data. “Genedata is proud of the central place it occupies in InnoMed’s computational activities”, explained Dr. Othmar Pfannes, CEO of Genedata.
InnoMed is coordinated by the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), a body representing the research-based pharmaceutical industries and biotech SMEs operating in Europe. It has secured €12 million of funding over 42 months from the European Commission Life Sciences, Genomics and Biotechnology for Health Priority. It comprises two scientific projects. One to identify new biomarkers for Alzheimer’s dementia and the other to search for markers to predict the toxicity of drug candidates. Both projects are aimed at reducing key bottlenecks in the R&D process. The pharmaceutical members in the consortium include:
Altana, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Johnson & Johnson, Lilly S.A., Merck KG, Novartis, Novo Nordisk, Organon, Roche, Schering AG, Sanofi-Aventis, Serono, Servier. Two small to medium sized enterprises (SME’s), Genedata and Ciphergen, are also members. The academic members are Universities of Dublin, Hacettepe and Würzburg.
Genedata specializes in discovery informatics for biotech, pharmaceuticals and the life sciences. The Company offers expertise in research informatics combined with open and scalable computational solutions. Our solutions include Genedata Phylosopher® for integrating, structuring, and analyzing research data. Genedata Screener® for high throughput screening analysis. And Genedata Expressionist® for omics data integration, processing and analysis. Founded in 1997 as a privately held spin off from Novartis, Genedata is headquartered in Basel, Switzerland and has branches in Munich (Germany), Boston (USA) and San Francisco (USA). The Company is also represented in Japan, Taiwan and Singapore.