Stanford spinoff debuts cloud-based R&D software

Syapse has pushed its software for aggregating and structuring biomedical data into the commercial realm. The big step toward commercialization follows testing of the software in dozens of labs, some of which have piped up in support of the cloud-based technology and its ability to corral complex data used to develop diagnostic tests and screen patients in clinical trials.

The Palo Alto, CA-based company, a spinoff of Stanford University, says that its Discovery software is based on its semantic data platform. The semantic technology enables the software to automatically organize data from disparate sources, such as DNA sequencers and databases of clinical information. For example, the capabilities of the software--which runs on Amazon's cloud computing platform--help drug developers manage data used to decide which patients to include in clinical trials and track patients' responses to experimental treatments, according to the company.

Genomics data are complex and many existing bioinformatics tools require intensive coding before scientists can make use of the information and integrate the information with other types of research data. In designing Discovery, company co-founder and president Jonathan Hirsch told Nature News in an article published in January that his company aims "to give people the ability to access this information without them having to learn programming." To understand genomics and other tricky data used in biomedical research, for instance, some biomedical research groups employ scads of IT people. That luxury, however, doesn't exist everywhere.

Stanford, not surprisingly, is one of the early users of Discovery. In Syapse's press release, the company also reveals that Foundation Medicine, a provider of genomics data for personalized cancer care, and the diagnostics group Locus Development have also adopted the software.

"Syapse Discovery is the critical data hub for our multi-platform diagnostic test for heritable diseases," Sean George, co-founder and CEO of Locus, said in a statement. "Discovery helps us organize and integrate our research, clinical lab, and data analysis efforts, enabling us to deliver our test results faster. The platform's flexibility allowed us to customize it for our needs, and rapidly integrate with a variety of existing automation and databases."

- here's the release