NIH to build bioinformatics databases for new treatments

By Bernie Monegain
10:25 AM

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, has awarded a five-year, $16 million contract to Northrop Grumman to create Web-based bioinformatics resource centers.

The databases will support the research of pathogenic viruses that could lead to new medical treatments and preventive measures for humans.

As part of the contract, Northrop Grumman's information systems sector will build and maintain a Web-based virus pathogen resource (ViPR) bioinformatics resource center to facilitate the research of Category A, B and C pathogenic viruses and human infection with these viruses. The resource will include surveillance data, human clinical data, virus characteristic information and the genomic and proteomic data available in public repositories for the pathogenic viruses.

"Northrop Grumman will apply information technology and bioinformatics techniques to develop a quality scientific information system that supports crucial experimental biology research efforts," said Amy King, Northrop Grumman's vice president of health information technology programs. "Our bioinformatics resource center database will be useful for researchers investigating bio-defense and public health issues."

The ViPR will include a suite of tools available to researchers for analysis of pathogenic virus data, as well as a personal workbench for scientists to store critical data.

Under a previous NIH contract, Northrop Grumman developed BioHealthBase, which focused on six priority pathogens that helped fill in gaps in genomic and other data vital to scientific researchers.

Work will be performed at the Northrop Grumman facility in Rockville, Md., and at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. Vecna Technologies, Inc., of Greenbelt, Md., will work with the company.

Northrop Grumman is a global security company whose 120,000 employees provide systems, products and solutions in aerospace, electronics, information systems, shipbuilding and technical services to government and commercial customers worldwide.