Dealing with the data
March 2013
by Kelsey Kaustinen  |  Email the author


PARIS—GenoSplice Technology, a developer and provider of bioinformatics solutions for genomics projects, and Curie-Cancer, the organization responsible for partnership activities for Institut Curie, have announced a new partnership. The companies will be combining their skill sets to explore the application of bioinformatics in cancer genomics.  
"Participating in research projects with the Institut Curie, which are sometimes multi-party and involve other international research institutes, will put us at the forefront of developments in our areas of interest and will enable us to provide the best possible service to our clients," Pierre de la Grange, scientific director and co-founder of GenoSplice, said in a press release.
Under the collaboration, GenoSplice will gain access to several of Curie-Cancer's technology platforms that will allow it to improve its service offerings, and will also be included in research programs of Institut Curie, with access to the intellectual property that results from said programs. In addition, both organizations will seek further understanding of diseases such as cancer through the use of genome mapping. Though no terms were disclosed, the partnership is slated to run for several years.  
Among the projects the partners will undertake is the definition of a genomic map for prostate cancer based on the analysis of data from several hundred cancer patients. Another project will be to pursue a new therapeutic approach in treating cancer that uses a "cell- penetrating peptide" molecule. GenoSplice and Curie-Cancer will seek out markers that could predict a patient's response to this type of molecule.   Marc Rajaud, president and co-founder of GenoSplice, says the company is "very pleased to have signed this agreement," and notes that GenoSplice will provide "dedicated value-added solutions for genomic data analysis" in the partnership.
"GenoSplice had been initially created to provide alternative splicing analysis for microarrays. Now we also analyze data from RNA- seq and DNA-seq and concerning gene expression, alternative splicing, microRNA, fusion transcripts, epigenetics, SNP, CNV, translocation and proteomics," says Rajaud. "We apply our in-house innovative technologies for studying genetic variation and function, making studies possible that were not even imaginable just a few years ago. These tools for DNA, RNA and protein analysis are enabling rapid advances in disease research, drug development and the development of molecular tests in the clinic."  
Damien Salauze, director of Curie-Cancer, says that while the organization's responsibilities will vary from project to project, Curie-Cancer will provide, among other things, access to some of its technological platforms, expertise in cancer biology and leadership for academic projects.  
Salauze says that while it is always hard to predict whether partnerships like this, which focus on the genomics of diseases, will become more prevalent, "it can be anticipated that cutting-edge companies will have to be involved in high-level academic programs if they want to stay 'cutting-edge' … This can be achieved either through participation to collaborative academic program funded by states … or through one-to-one agreements such as the present one. This is, to my knowledge, the first of this kind in France in this field, which makes it somewhat emblematic."  
According to Rajaud, the science of bioinformatics is becoming increasingly vital for the industry, noting that the life sciences "have been highly affected by the generation of large data sets, specifically by overloads of 'omics information (genomes, transcriptomes and other 'omics data from cells, tissues and organisms)." Companies' success in dealing with all of this data, he notes, "will depend on our ability to interpret high-scale data sets that are generated by emerging technologies. Data analysis is the bottleneck of the genomic revolution and consequently of the personalized medicine development."  
"We are generating more data in the last years than we have produced in our entire existence. At the same time, biomedical research is facing an increasing deficit in people to not only handle big data, but more importantly, to have the knowledge and skills to generate value from this data … In this context, for public or private organization researchers, it is quite difficult to manage all these new bioinformatics issues. That's why we set up this kind of partnership, which can be described as 'Bioinformatics as a Service,'" says Rajaud.
Code: E031311

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