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BioIT Alliance Shows Progress in Accelerating the Pace of Drug Discovery and Development


Agilent Technologies, Applied Biosystems and Illumina Inc. team up with Microsoft and software providers to accelerate work in biomarker discovery.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Oct. 19, 2006 — Today at Microsoft’s biotechnology Executive Forum, Microsoft Corp. announced the initiation of the BioIT Alliance’s second proof of concept, called the Biomarkers Project, along with an update on the Alliance’s first proof of concept, the Collaborative Molecular Environment. The BioIT Alliance is a cross-industry group working to integrate science and technology to accelerate the pace of drug discovery and realize the potential of personalized medicine. The early focus of the Alliance has been to address the data-capture and data-integration challenges that face the industry. Additional information about the BioIT Alliance can be found on its Web site at

“The life sciences offer one of the best opportunities for information technology to accelerate the pace of drug discovery and development,” said Craig Mundie, chief research and strategy officer at Microsoft. “Our collaboration in the Alliance will help the life science industry move discoveries from the lab to the clinic much faster.”

The Biomarkers Project: Initiation of Second Proof of Concept

“One of the most important fields of research today is in gaining an understanding of the relationship between genetic traits and clinical outcomes,” said Dr. Michael Hanley, vice president of Discovery Research at Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc. “The research and pharmaceutical community is hindered by the lack of integration among the software tools that are used to gain this insight.”

To address these challenges of software integration, the BioIT Alliance is collaborating on its second proof of concept, the Biomarkers Project. This undertaking will simplify the process for identifying and validating genomic biomarkers — the characteristics that indicate the presence of a disease or the likely efficacy of a drug. Agilent Technologies Inc., Applied Biosystems and Illumina Inc. will work in cooperation with Microsoft and other software developers to ensure that their data products and content are accessible, enabling independent software vendors (ISVs) to develop off-the-shelf solutions for biomedical research and life science companies.

“Since Illumina’s inception, our philosophy has been to be collaborative in nature,” said Scott Kahn, chief information officer at Illumina Inc. “In fact, our software is designed this way, with open data access as a fundamental requirement. The BioIT Alliance aligns very well with this approach, and we are proud to be a part of an effort that moves genomics research forward.”

“As leaders in the industry, we feel a responsibility to move toward open and cooperative sharing of data,” said John Oakley, chief architect at Applied Biosystems. “Through the BioIT Alliance, we are committed to ensuring our data are accessible to ISVs so they can begin to build solutions that help customers manage and access that data in a more effective way.”

The Collaborative Molecular Environment: Results of First Proof of Concept

In April, the Alliance announced the first proof of concept, the Collaborative Molecular Environment, which was developed by Alliance member InterKnowlogy LLC, with input from Dr. Peter Kuhn of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), and has since been deployed at TSRI. The application will use advanced visualization and annotation with Windows Vista™, Windows® Presentation Foundation and the collaborative features of Microsoft® SharePoint® Products and Technologies to enable researchers to store data in electronic format and search and retrieve it effectively. The application is planned to be made available later this year to ISVs that are interested in commercializing it. IO Informatics Inc., an innovative informatics company, has decided to be among the first to work with BioIT customers interested in using this technology as an extension to their informatics software products.

“We use .NET and Microsoft SQL Server™ technology extensively to speed development time and lower the cost of delivering our applications,” said Patricia Rougeau, CEO of IO Informatics. “We are eager to integrate the work of this proof of concept as we encounter critical business needs, in order to take advantage of the Windows Media® Photo format for biomedical imaging and the Windows Presentation Foundation for rendering and annotating three-dimensional data.”

About the BioIT Alliance

Formed in 2006, the BioIT Alliance is a cross-industry group working to integrate science and technology in order to accelerate the pace of drug discovery and realize the potential of personalized medicine. Founding members include Accelrys Software Inc., Affymetrix, Inc., Agilent Technologies Inc., Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Applied Biosystems, The BioTeam Inc., Digipede Technologies LLC, Discovery Biosciences Corporation, Geospiza Inc., Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P., Illumina Inc., InterKnowlogy, Microsoft Corporation, Sun Microsystems Inc., The Scripps Research Institute, VizX Labs LLC and other key companies in the pharmaceutical, biotech, hardware and software industries. Additional information about the BioIT Alliance can be found on the BioIT Alliance Web site at

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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