Genomic analysis software gets US launch

By Tanya Hollis
Friday, 22 February, 2002

A new, Melbourne-developed microarray analysis software program is to be unveiled at a major genomics conference in the United States tomorrow.

Axon Instruments, a local developer of drug discovery instrumentation and software, said its Acuity 1.0 product would be launched at the Genome Tri-Conference in Santa Clara, California.

Bioinformatics products line manager Dr Damian Verdinik said the software would give users sophisticated analysis and data management technology for genomic applications that was different to existing products.

"We have spent a lot of time on usability issues and we have made a lot of modifications to the original design," Verdinik said.

He said the software, which was three in development, was fully ODBC compliant, theoretically enabling it to be run with any type of database.

"A database is an integral part of a system and this means you can search and query tens of thousands of microarrays with much better tools," he said.

The software was also designed to be scaleable to different sized data sets and could also be run in the background, enabling the operator to run other tasks simultaneously.

It also features a range of colour tables, 2D line drawings and 3D scatter plots to assist the interpretation of analysis results.

Designed in collaboration with CSIRO scientists, Acuity will form part of a genomics package when combined with Axon's GenePix 4000 microarray scanner and GenePix Pro 4.0 microarray image acquisition and analysis system.

Acuity can also be used as a stand-alone product for use with data collected with non-Axon scanners.

Verdinik declined to reveal Axon's sales projections for the product, but said that if a large proportion of the company's several thousand existing GenePix users took it up Acuity would pay for itself.

"Acuity is designed to take the mystery out of bioinformatics for novice users, while providing the computational sophistication demanded by advanced users processing massive gene expression data sets, " he said.

Axon Instruments was founded in 1984 and listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in March 2000.

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