Wisconsin Biotechnology Company Hopes to ‘Lasso’ the Power of Bioinformatics
Insilico Med, a new biotechnology company formed in part by the Medical College of Wisconsin, hopes to "lasso" the human genome map and "translate" the information into "personalized" medical treatments -- the science of bioinformatics -- which may "profoundly change health care and tap a market potentially worth billions of dollars," the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. Insilico Med will likely begin operating next month in Wauwatosa, Wis., and hopes to have 40 employees by 2002, when the company plans to "bring its first products to market." According to Peter Tonellato, director of the Bioinformatics Research Center at the Medical College of Wisconsin, a group of unnamed investors will provide the initial funding to establish the company. Tonellato said that next year, Insilico Med hopes to begin offering hospitals and clinics "detailed information on the best way to treat patient diseases" based on genetic information, personal and family histories, laboratory tests and clinical data. Tonellato said, "In the hospital today, nobody does a genetic profile on you. But tomorrow, as part of your routine medical review, you will be genotyped for all your genes. Your genetic profile will be taken just like your footprints on the day you were born." The Journal Sentinel reports that technology developed by the Bioinformatics Research Center will serve as the "heart" of Insilico Med. The center will design computer software to link patients' genetic information and medical conditions, Dr. Drew Palin, who will serve as CEO of Insilico Med, said. Palin added that a patient genetic analysis would take about an hour and cost about $10,000. In the next five years, he predicted that the market for bioinformatics products and services may "reach into the billions of dollars nationwide" (Manning, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 8/12).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.