Comprehend, GNS reach milestones with software for drug researchers

Comprehend Systems and GNS Healthcare made progress with very different software tools for drug researchers. Yet both companies have lived up to FierceBiotech IT's choice to include them in an October 2011 report on tech companies to watch in the biotech arena.

Cambridge, MA-based GNS and Harvard Medical School inked a 5-year deal to give Harvard researchers access to the company's Big Data analytics technology to study signaling and transcriptional events in cells. The company guarded financial details of the licensing agreement, yet the pact provides another vote of confidence for its reverse engineering forward simulation (REFS) method.

The REFS tech aids in extracting causal relationships among events in biological networks from massive data sets, which qualify as Big Data in the case of genomics and other sequencing information. As part of the Initiative in Systems Pharmacology at Harvard, researchers plan to use the REFS tech to analyze large amounts of biological data and build computational models of, among other things, how drugs impact certain disease pathways. This could be useful in designing new drugs to impact signals that drive cells to grow out of control and form tumors. 

On the clinical trials front, Comprehend Systems has released an online signup option for its flagship Comprehend Clinical software. The web-based software enables those involved with drug development to gain insights into clinical and operational data trends from multiple electronic data sources such as EDC and CTMS systems. With the online signup option, CROs and sponsors can begin using the web-based software within days.

"When you're a startup in this industry, it's difficult to be taken seriously," Comprehend CEO Rick Morrison told FierceBiotech IT.

Yet now his company has more than a year of experience in the market with Comprehend Clinical with paying customers such as Knopp Biosciences. And the Palo Alto, CA-based startup has gained credibility in the process.

- here's Comprehend's release
- see the GNS/Harvard announcement

Special Report: 5 emerging biotech IT firms to watch