Noregon Systems helps Targacept speed development of new drugs

Winston-Salem 10 December 2003Noregon Systems, a software development firm, has been subcontracted by Targacept Inc. to assist in the enhancement of the biopharmaceutical firm's molecular dynamics simulation programme. The work being completed by Noregon is one part of a two million dollar project grant that Targacept recently received from the National Institute of Standards and Technology's Advanced Technology Programme (ATP).

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Targacept is using the ATP grant to develop simulation systems that quickly and accurately predict the biological and toxicological effects of drugs, thus enabling firms to focus development and testing efforts on drugs that are most likely to succeed in the marketplace. According to Price Waterhouse Coopers, simulation software could reduce the time needed to bring a drug to market by two to three years and could save as much as $200 to $300 million in development costs.

"Specifically under the ATP grant, we are doing a proof of concept to see if we can improve the performance of existing simulation by offloading some of the intensive calculations to the graphics coprocessor", noted Bill Hathaway, Noregon's President. "Distributing data across a Grid of inexpensive Windows PC CPUs and their associated graphics coprocessors is much faster and less expensive than previous programmes which required the use of expensive, dedicated, high-performance computer hardware."

Noregon and Targacept are currently testing the Grid-enabled molecular dynamics simulation software on PCs located in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County school network. The simulation runs at night and on weekends when the PCs would otherwise be idle.

"Noregon Systems is just the kind of partner we need to make our molecular dynamics simulation tool a reality", stated Jeff Schmitt, Targacept's Scientific Director, Molecular Design. "Noregon's proven software development and project management expertise are an ideal complement to our scientific capabilities."

Targacept is a central nervous system-focused biopharmaceutical company located in Winston-Salem's Piedmont Triad Research Park. Targacept is engaged in the discovery and development of a new class of drugs to treat a broad spectrum of diseases, including but not limited to memory disorders, dementia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, ulcerative colitis, pain and Alzheimer's disease.

Founded in 1993, Noregon Systems, a software-consulting firm specializing in the creation of custom software solutions, has a proven track record for software development projects. Noregon engineers are experienced with technologies ranging from embedded systems, to standard client/server, to n-tier Web-enabled applications, using a variety of operating systems including Palm OS, Windows, and UNIX/Linux. Through leveraging of software development capabilities, an ability to provide standards-compliant solutions, and its proximity to the resources and organisations mentioned above, Noregon is uniquely able to serve the specific software development needs of the biotechnology and life sciences industries.

Noregon Systems, Inc. is a leading edge, software-consulting firm that specializes in creating custom software solutions for the commercial trucking and transportation industries. Noregon provides expertise in e-business applications, client-server applications, embedded applications and onboard vehicle networks.


Leslie Versweyveld

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