GSK signs up to access Metabolon's bioinformatics tools

Metabolon has made a busy start to 2014, with media reports of a planned IPO following news of its partnership with J. Craig Venter's Human Longevity. Now, GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) has signed up to use Metabolon's bioinformatics and visualization tools as part of a deal to source metabolomic profiling services.

The latest version of Research Triangle Park-based Metabolon's metabolomics platform, DiscoveryHD4, is at the heart of the deal. Metabolon unveiled DiscoveryHD4 last month, with software-enabled improvements to sensitivity topping the list of changes. GSK will have access to these capabilities as it works with Metabolon to integrate metabolomics information--which covers the role of small molecule metabolites in biology--with existing sources of genomics and proteomics data.

Metabolon CEO John Ryals

Metabolon CEO John Ryals thinks drug development can be improved by building such metabolomic profiling into various stages of R&D. "Gaps of knowledge can be bridged through the understanding metabolomics provides, which could lead to better targets, higher quality molecules, faster time to the clinic and reduced risk and cost," Ryals said in a statement. Metabolon was founded in 2000, but hype about the potential of metabolomics has picked up in recent years.

The field is one of the many hyped approaches Human Longevity is looking at in its bid to learn how people can live longer, healthier lives. Metabolon was unveiled as a collaborator in March; the following month, The Wall Street Journal reported that Metabolon had confidentially filed for an IPO. The offering could be made public and completed in the next two months. 

- here's the release
- read the WSJ piece (sub. req.)