Applied Biosystems (ABI) launched a new software development community, with the intention of encouraging innovation in life science research software applications. “ABI will provide life scientists and independent software vendors (ISV) open access to its genetic analysis data file format and a data file converter,” according to Dennis Gilbert, CSO at ABI.

“We hope that this will facilitate the development of next-generation bioinformatics application systems. If these applications can then be used to advance productivity and data sharing on ABI’s genetic analyzers and real-time PCR sequence detection systems, then it is a win-win situation for everyone concerned.”

ABI will encourage community members, including academic researchers as well as scientists at pharmaceutical companies, to take advantage of the open-source software available on ABI website to produce commercial software applications, notes Gilbert. “ABI could enter into licensing and/or royalty deals on such commercial applications if applicable,” he explains.

He added that a good example of the kind of product that might come out from the use of open source software is the new genetic analysis integration tool from Geospiza that provides ABI’s Genemapper® and SeqScape® users with the ability to directly query data collected and managed in Geospiza’s Finch® Suite data management system.

Geospiza, after having collaborated with ABI for the past year, is the first company to join the community. Kevin Banks, Ph.D., vp of business development, at Geospiza commented that “the new software community will allow instrument providers such as ABI and software vendors, such as Geospiza, to innovate and it also lets multiple vendors to put together interoperable software solutions as opposed to free-standing proprietary applications.”

“Encouraging collaborations and compatibility of formats are the new ways of thinking and moving forward,” says Gilbert. He concludes “No company by itself can provide all the answers.”

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