Blacksburg, Va. - Virginia Tech Intellectual Properties Inc., an affiliated corporation of Virginia Tech, announced at the Pacific Symposium on Biocomputing that it has licensed the source code of GenoCAD to the International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB). This agreement will facilitate the open source development of GenoCAD by the synthetic biology community.
"Our initial vision for GenoCAD was to develop a web site allowing users to design synthetic genetic systems for biological research or product development programs," said Jean Peccoud, associate professor at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech. "GenoCAD has become an open-source software development project after many users expressed a strong interest for installing GenoCAD on their own servers." He added: "The partnership with the ISCB provides a framework allowing developers from different institutions to collaborate toward the development of a common code base without having to worry about intellectual property issues."
Virginia Tech and ISCB have jointly determined that the system of licensing agreements developed by the Apache Software Foundation provides a suitable framework to distribute software, accept regular contributions from individuals and corporations, and to accept larger grants of existing software like GenoCAD. "Open source licensing is an integral part of our technology transfer strategy for pre-competitive software projects," said John Geikler, Senior Licensing Associate with Virginia Tech Intellectual Properties. "The partnership with ISCB allows contributors to retain full rights of use for their software while providing the scientific community, represented by ISCB, an irrevocable right to distribute and build upon an open source code."
Scott Markel, ISCB Vice President and Chair of the Publications Committee, remarked: "We are extremely pleased to enter into what we see as a first-of-kind relationship between our organization and academic institutions looking to galvanize a user and development community for open source bioinformatics software. This type of activity fits closely with the mandates of ISCB to facilitate the dissemination of computational biology tools and develop a strong computational biology community. "
The International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB; www.iscb.org) serves over 2500 members from nearly 70 countries around the world by addressing scientific policies, providing access to high quality publications, organizing meetings, and serving as a portal to information about training, education, employment and news from related fields. ISCB hosts annual meetings, including ISMB, the world's longest running and largest bioinformatics conference (held jointly with ECCB every other year in Europe), affiliates with several other significant meetings of our science, has two official journals of the highest impact factors in the Mathematical & Computational Biology category, and has affiliations in place with several other publications for the benefit of our members. ISCB is incorporated in the United States as a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, and registered in the state of California as a Charitable Trust.
Formed in 1985 as an affiliated corporation of Virginia Tech, Virginia Tech Intellectual Properties strives to make a positive contribution to society through its expertise in protecting, marketing and commercializing technology and innovation. Its goal is to pursue innovative strategies to help translate scientific progress into tangible products, while returning income to the inventor and Virginia Tech to support further research and education. VTIP facilitates the licensing of technology to companies, encourages new faculty startup ventures, works with publishers and distributors of software, and supports the transfer of research and knowledge to other universities, research institutes and companies.
The Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech is a premier bioinformatics, computational biology, and systems biology research facility that uses transdisciplinary approaches to science combining information technology, biology and medicine. These approaches are used to interpret and apply vast amounts of biological data generated from basic research to some of today's key challenges in the biomedical, environmental and agricultural sciences. With more than 240 highly trained multidisciplinary, international personnel, research at VBI involves collaboration in diverse disciplines such as mathematics, computer science, biology, plant pathology, biochemistry, systems biology, statistics, economics, synthetic biology and medicine. The large amounts of data generated by this approach are analyzed and interpreted to create new knowledge that is disseminated to the world's scientific, governmental, and wider communities.
About GenoCAD (www.genocad.org)
The National Science Foundation recently awarded a three-year $1,421,725 grant to the Synthetic Biology Group at VBI to develop GenoCAD - a web-based Computer Assisted Design environment for synthetic biology. GenoCAD, which can be regarded as one of the first Computer Assisted Design systems for synthetic DNA sequences, provides a sequence builder function that guides users through the process of designing a new genetic construct from a database of standard genetic parts. The open source development of GenoCAD is hosted on SourceForge at http://sourceforge.