Microsoft adds genomics capacity to Amalga

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Life sciences, Pharmacology, Merck & co

Microsoft is ramping up its efforts in drug R&D for personalised medicine through the acquisition of genomic analysis technology developed by Seattle, US firm Rosetta Biosoftware.

Rosetta, which is currently owned by Merck & Co, develops systems capable of storing and analysing the large amounts of data generated during the analysis of early stage drug candidates.

Jim Karkanias, senior director of applied research and technology for Microsoft’s Health Solutions group said the Rosetta technology will be added to the firm’s recently launched Amalga Life Sciences R&D platform.

He told that: “combining [the technologies] will allow us to provide a full-featured platform for transforming the life sciences industry and accelerating the realization of personalized medicine.

Personalised treatments

Personalised medicine is an obvious first focus for the expanded Amalga platform given the field’s reliance on techniques such as genomics, proteomics and metabolomics which all require effective data management as a first step.

The technology Microsoft is buying also has applications in data analysis and interpretation, which is the second stage of any personalised drug development programme.

With the era of blockbuster drugs seemingly drawing to a close, at least for pharmaceutical innovators, Big Pharma firms may seek to differentiate their offerings through, for example, the provision of personalised drug development.

Merck to help with development

Also under the Rosetta Biosoftware deal, financial terms of which have not been released, Merck will work with Microsoft on the ongoing development of its life sciences offering.

Karkanias explained that: “We’ll establish a formal process for collaborating with Merck, so that they can provide strategic input on the direction, evolution and development of Amalga Life Sciences.

He went on to say that: “As an early adopter, Merck will have access to early releases of the technology for product testing purposes​.”

Merck joins the David H. Murdock Research Institute, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center​ and LineaGen as the first drug development groups to have adopted the Amalga platform so far.

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