Ann Arbor-based Compendia Bioscience Inc. Tuesday announced the award of $1.3 million in SBIR Fast Track funds to incorporate micro-RNA data and analyses into its Oncomine cancer database platform.

Cancer is a highly complex disease in which all of the causes and effects are not well understood. In recent years a new type of non-coding RNA molecule — micro-RNA — has been identified as an important contributor to cancer development, progression, and metastasis, creating a need for cancer researchers to easily access and query this new data type.

Despite the growing accumulation of micro-RNA profiling data in a range of cancer-related studies, it is nearly impossible for a cancer biologist to survey the differential expression of an individual micro-RNA or micro-RNA signature across all published datasets, or to integrate knowledge about micro-RNA expression patterns with other relevant biological phenomena such as gene expression, copy number, and mutation data.

“The role of microRNAs in cancer is becoming increasingly clear and pharma-biotech are taking notice both from therapeutic and diagnostic angles,” said Compendia CEO Daniel Rhodes. “Several major pharma companies have indicated strong interest in querying and analyzing microRNA data from cancer patients. We are thrilled to be able to meet this need with this newly awarded SBIR grant.”

This project will systematically capture, curate, and analyze the novel micro-RNA data type in a standardized way and provide the data and analyses in an interface that promotes ongoing inquiry. This effort will require significant technical innovation to capture, organize, and present data that is both biologically and technically complex in a way that is rapidly comprehensible to the cancer biologist.

This project seeks to make micro-RNA data — which is clearly correlated with cancer diagnosis, staging, and prognosis — easily accessible via the Oncomine platform.

Compendia Bioscience is dedicated to harnessing the global collection of high throughput molecular data to provide researchers with the data and analysis tools necessary to validate biomarker and gene target discoveries, better understand mechanisms of disease, and optimize clinical outcomes.

More at

Oncomine combines a rapidly growing compendium of 41,000+ expertly curated cancer genomic profiles with a sophisticated analysis engine and a powerful web application for data mining and visualization. Oncomine facilitates target discovery and validation and supports the prioritization of tumor populations for drug development. More at

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