BioAnalyte: your data, your choice

ProNets: ‘Consumable’ Software License Hits the Bioinformatics Street [Press Release]

May 20, 2005. Portland, ME – BioAnalyte confirmed today that it has just released its flagship software under a revolutionary license that binds the software to data.

The software, ProTrawler™, is a tool for the rapid reduction of gigabyte-size raw scientific data sets to manageable lists of potential biomarkers, or diagnostic indicators of disease.

The new proNets license allows the ProTrawler software to analyze individual data sets. Users pay once and analyze many times on one computer or several.

“We’ve taken $10,000 software and have found out how to sell it $15 at a time and increase revenues by a factor of 100” said Peter Leopold, president of BioAnalyte.

Vladimir Georgiev, BioAnalyte’s software production manager, commented that the “monolithic” nature of biotech data makes the license scheme possible. “We couldn’t do this for a text editor, but we can for a two-hour chromatogram that contains 40 million individual measurements.”

The proNets license as a business model is aided by FDA requirements for data integrity, Leopold added.

“Our new license enforces data integrity while promoting the sharing of scientific data between colleagues,” Leopold said. Fellow researchers download ProTrawler from for free. Then, one scientist buys a proNets license, which is copied with the data set to all participants in the research group.

The proNets license will help BioAnalyte circulate its brand in a $23 billion R&D industry where scientists spend more money on low-end consumables than on high-end software and hardware tools. BioAnalyte anticipates sales of $35 million based on this license strategy alone.

“We think we can penetrate the laboratory instrument install base 1000%,” Leopold said, pointing out that sharable licenses will encourage dissemination of his company’s software.

ProTrawler is designed to analyze a variety of data formats.

“ProTrawler is instrument agnostic,” Leopold said. “In an industry dominated by billion dollar companies, it is important not to play favorites.”

The dominant instrument companies include American companies Agilent (NYSE:A), Applied BioSystems (NYSE:ABI), Waters Corporation (NYSE:WAT), Varian (NASDAQ:VARI) and Thermo Corporation (NYSE:TMO) as well as Japanese companies Shimadzu and JEOL and German company Bruker. Orono-based Stillwater Instruments is entering the same market place with a new mass spectrometer.

Leopold commented that ProTrawler’s portability moves the vendors' value proposition from hardware-and-software back to hardware-only. One long-time BioAnalyte customer considered changing his million-dollar instrument purchase order from the traditional vendor to a new higher quality instrument as long as he can take ProTrawler with him, he added.

“We seem to be able to affect instrument sales,” Leopold said.

In 2004, ProTrawler helped the FDA discover a protein weight about 9000 daltons that acts as a diagnostic biomarker for Vibrio parahaemolyticus, a cousin of cholera that contaminates shellfish and kills people.

The key to wide acceptance is adoption by so-called core facilities, departments at universities and research centers responsible for maintaining and using analytical instrumentation. Core facilities analyze samples from all over the institution on a fee-for-service basis.

Leopold called the proNets license a triple win for core facilities managers.

“Core managers will hand enterprise-quality software to their users for a tiny fraction of the cost of a traditional license,” Leopold said. “Moreover, they will profit from the re-sale of a proNets license while pushing back some of the data analytical work on the scientists who ordered the samples to be analyzed.”

BioAnalyte will formally announce the proNets license for ProteinTrawler at the 2005 American Society of Mass Spectrometry Meeting in San Antonio in June.

ProTrawler uses the ReSpect™ data reconstruction algorithm from BioAnalyte’s partners at Positive Probability Ltd, a mathematical software firm based in East Anglia, UK.

The proNets license was nominated for Product of the Year in the Maine Software Developers Association (MESDA) annual competition.

The proNets license model has applications when data sets are monolithic and are created separate from analytical software. An example is digital map data and cartographic display software, or mp3 files and playback software.

About BioAnalyte

Founded in Portland in 2001, BioAnalyte is a Portland-based biomarker discovery partner company. It develops cross-platform software tools to facilitate high-speed interpretation of the torrent of proteomics and genomic data made possible by contemporary instrumentation. BioAnalyte’s ProTrawler™ was developed in collaboration with the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. ProTrawler™ also helped the FDA discover a protein biomarker for a deadly food-borne bacterium similar to the one that causes cholera.


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