Global Biotech and Information Technology Leaders Form Consortium to Promote Interoperability for Life Science Data

BIO, IBM, INCOGEN, LabBook, Millennium, National Cancer Institute, Sun Microsystems, Inc. and Others Create Interoperable Informatics Infrastructure (I3C) to Develop Open Protocols for Data Exchange, Data Management and Knowledge Management in L

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SAN DIEGO - 26 Jun 2001: An international consortium of over 40 life science and information technology organizations today announced the formation of the Interoperable Informatics Infrastructure Consortium (I3C) at the BIO (Biotechnology Industry Organization) 2001 Conference.

The I3C presented a demonstration that uses XML and Java to illustrate how data from multiple sources in numerous proprietary data formats can be connected via common protocols to accelerate discovery.

With the completion of the sequencing of the human and other genomes, the life sciences community is facing exponentially increasing data volumes and complex computation and visualization needs. The I3C's model of a common open platform, uses XML and Java(TM) technology as the basis for exchanging and sharing life science data in an open consistent manner. The demonstration at BIO 2001 has been coordinated by INCOGEN with extensive contribution from LabBook and others. The I3C presented a demonstration of a unified set of XML protocols for the exchange and analysis of sequence data across 10 different organization's products.

The I3C will develop common protocols and interoperable technologies (specifications) for data exchange and knowledge management for the life sciences community. This will provide the community with solutions that can be leveraged, extended or uniquely customized toward the goal of accelerated discovery and development.

As a result of high-throughput methodologies, researchers have been inundated with data and are having difficulty coordinating knowledge from that data. Without common standards and a common general architecture, coordination and viewing of the data has been difficult. To date, many Information Technology and biopharmaceutical organizations have made significant investments in informatics and developed effective solutions for parts of the problem. However, these solutions do not have a common interface casuing significant inefficiencies in the process.

"In order to accelerate drug discovery and development, there must be a common open platform used throughout life sciences,'' said Sia Zadeh, group manager for life sciences, Sun Microsystems, Inc. "The members of I3C believe that open standards are critical to the next phase of genomics research. This initiative will accelerate the adoption of standards in life sciences by defining a common interoperability framework for researchers to use to access and employ data from a variety of sources.''

"Standards for data interchange are critical to scientists who need to work with large volumes of data in different formats and coming from a variety of sources,'' said Jeff Augen, director of strategy, IBM Life Sciences. "The work I3C is doing will help drive consensus in the industry, enabling platform developers to create next-generation tools for these scientists.''

To date, more than 40 organizations have contributed to the I3C initiative, including Accenture, BIO, Blackstone, EBI, IBM, INCOGEN, Insight, LabBook, Millennium Pharmaceuticals, National Cancer Institute, Oracle, Sun Microsystems, Inc., Whitehead Institute, TimeLogic, TurboGenomics and numerous others. Each participant brings to the consortium expertise in a particular area.

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Editors are invited to attend the I3C Panel session today at 2:00 PM, Upper Level, Room 8 at which time, several members of the I3C will be discussing their efforts 'on defining a framework for data integration and application interoperability for life sciences'.

Sun, Sun Microsystems, the Sun Logo and Java are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sun Microsystems, Inc. in the United States and other countries.

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