Beyond the Genome
by Kristen Philipkoski
3:00 a.m. 18.Feb.2000 PST
NEW YORK -- We've got a big mess of genetic information. Now what?
That was the question posed to a panel of genomic researchers at the Bio CEO and Investor conference on Wednesday. And since sorting out messes of gene sequences is the panelistsí business, they had plenty of ideas -- and concerns.
Check yourself into Med-Tech
"We're 10 percent into the genomic revolution, if you will. Getting the information is not the end, it's absolutely the beginning," said Edward Maggio, CEO of Structural
Bioinformatics in San Diego.
The company is one of several poised to pick up where the Human Genome Project leaves off. After all the genes are sequenced later this year, much work will remain to translate the genome map into something useful.
Genomics companies such as Incyte and Celera try to make sense out of the massive amounts of genetic information being produced by the HGP. They hope to generate revenue with technology platforms that will crunch gene sequence data and find meaningful genetic markers that could lead to new drug therapies.
Each company hopes to carve out its own niche by offering pharmaceutical companies information about which organs express which genes, and how the expression of certain genes changes as a result of disease.
"The direction we're trying to move in is addressing the next bottleneck. The bottlenecks are in how you use that sequence and drive forward to function and therapeutic algorithm," said Bill Matthews, CEO of Deltagen, in Menlo Park, California, which specializes in providing information on the role of newly discovered genes in animals.
The audience expressed concerns about the accuracy and reliability of information being fed to genomics companies by genome sequencers. Although the main players say they'll have the human genome mapped this year, it could be several years before an accurate and reliable map comes to fruition.
"It's going to be an incredible hodgepodge of information," said Michael Brennan, CEO of Gene Logic in Gaithersburg, Maryland.
Sangamo, a company that focuses on cardiovascular disease information and specializes in DNA transcription factors, also announced collaborations with 16 biotech companies at the meeting, including Pfizer, SmithKline Beecham, Bayer, and Merck.
Have a comment on this article? Send it
Email this to a friend.
this from your computer for free
Related Wired Links:
Evolution on Speed
Incyte Incites Concern
Biotech Is About to Rock
Mousing Around for Genes
Safety First in Gene Research