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Last modified: Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Indiana CTSI offering trial period for GeneGo biologic drug development research tool

Feb. 16, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute is providing affiliated researchers trial access through March to the powerful research tool MetaDrug, which is made available through a CTSI-wide institutional licensing agreement with GeneGo, Inc., a Thomson Reuters Company.

Indiana CTSI

GeneGo, Inc., a Thomson Reuters Company, also is the maker of MetaCore, a pathway analysis suite, and Eureka, a data-mining tool. Since March 2009, Indiana CTSI investigators have logged more than 400 hours of use of these two professional software tools through similar licensing agreements with GeneGo. These tools are available to anyone engaged in research at Indiana, Purdue and Notre Dame universities.

MetaDrug links small molecule compounds to biologic processes. Together, these powerful tools enable investigators to better apply their research data to understanding biologic systems related to drug target selection, biomarker identification and disease profiling.

"There is a very large demand for pathway analysis tools in the research community," said Erliang Zeng, research assistant professor of computer science and engineering at Notre Dame and managing director of the Indiana CTSI Bioinformatics Core Facility, which coordinates access to GeneGo software tools among 10 research labs at the IU School of Medicine-South Bend. "Even before the CTSI provided this software we had a lot of investigators asking for it."

More than 55 investigator teams from all three Indiana CTSI member institutions have utilized these tools since their introduction, according to online usage information, with approximately 45 percent at Purdue and 45 percent at IU, including IUPUI, IU Bloomington and the IU schools of medicine and dentistry. Ten percent who accessed the tools were from the University at Notre Dame.

Pathway analysis, which reveals significant relationships between genes, including patterns associated with certain diseases, provides much greater insight into biological functions than individual gene analysis. Moreover, Zeng points out that MetaCore's vast pathway analysis database increases the chances of accurately identifying these patterns compared to many competing products.

"We've found the support for non-commercial products isn't as good as MetaCore's, and also that for pathway analysis a comprehensive pathway analysis database isn't just useful -- it's critical," he said. "MetaCore's database is built by more than 50 Ph.D.s whose whole job is to read the literature every day and manually curate the database."

The initial contract for institute-wide access to GeneGo software was coordinated by the Indiana CTSI Translational Technologies Resources program by leveraging existing licenses -- originally purchased by faculty at IUSM and IUPUI, along with additional funds from Purdue and Notre Dame. The agreement benefitted the original purchasing faculty by opening these tools' availability to their entire staff, as well as provided a discount or extended license time at no additional charge.

MetaCore and Eureka are available to all investigators with log-in credentials from IU, IUPUI, Purdue or Notre Dame at Trial access to MetaDrug began on Jan. 9.

MetaDrug access may also be extended beyond the original agreement based on investigator interest and feedback. For more information, visit Individuals interested in continued access to MetaDrug may contact Melanie DeFord, Indiana CTSI's translational technology resources liaison for Notre Dame, at For additional questions, please contact Lilith Reeves, chief science officer for Indiana CTSI, at