Infinity Pharmaceuticals uses MATLAB for drug discovery data analysis

Natick 13 July 2004Infinity Pharmaceuticals Inc. is using MATLAB, the Statistics Toolbox, and the Curve Fitting Toolbox for data analysis, developed by The MathWorks. Infinity Pharmaceuticals' scientists now have a common technology for their analysis tasks, which cuts redundant experiments as a result. By integrating MATLAB into their existing data analysis applications, the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based drug discovery company was able to cut development time significantly, which resulted in annual savings of $100.000. MATLAB and its toolboxes also provided Infinity researchers with a consistent, powerful tool for conducting accurate data comparisons and increasing the certainty and quality of results.


Infinity Pharmaceuticals sought a data analysis tool that would integrate with its in-house applications and enable automated analysis of large data sets. After Infinity's informaticians automated the process of capturing and visualizing the data, thereby eliminating the need to manually enter results into a central database, they were looking for a software platform that could be integrated and used to develop standard calculations to ensure the integrity of their results across projects. This automation ensures that no data is lost and decreases the costly repetition typically found in R&D experiment cycles.

"With the integration of our in-house tools and existing Java code into MATLAB, our scientists can develop applications even more quickly today", stated Dennis Underwood, vice president of discovery informatics and computational science at Infinity Pharmaceuticals. "The reduction of our development time has resulted in an annual savings of $100.000. We estimate that our future application development in MATLAB will be shortened to just a few days compared to perhaps months. This has the potential to save us hundreds of thousands of dollars more."

Infinity Pharmaceuticals is an innovative cancer drug discovery company focused on discovering and developing therapeutics that target cancer cell survival utilizing Infinity's novel small molecule chemistry platform. Among other applications, Infinity uses MATLAB to calculate IC50 curves, the concentration of a drug that is required for 50 percent inhibition of enzyme activity. By integrating MathWorks tools with other third party tools and a host of home-grown applications, Infinity's scientists review, analyse, and annotate data by removing outliers and dynamically refitting the curves.

Furthermore, by engineering MATLAB to work as a service that is called across a distributed architecture, Infinity's informaticians ensure that the tools would scale well and would perform their tasks without requiring MATLAB training for scientists.

"Institutions in the pharmaceutical industry are challenged to manage and analyse large datasets, as the amount of information generated in research becomes larger and larger", stated Kristen Amuzzini, biotech, pharmaceutical and medical industry marketing manager, The MathWorks. "MATLAB and its toolboxes empower scientists and researchers at innovative organisations such as Infinity Pharmaceuticals to analyse and mine large data sets quickly and accurately. The MathWorks tools are well-known for their power, versatility, and reliability, and Infinity Pharmaceuticals' use of MATLAB highlights the value our software provides."

The MathWorks is a developer of technical computing software for engineers and scientists in industry, government, and education. With an extensive product set based on MATLAB and Simulink, The MathWorks provides software and services to solve challenging problems and accelerate innovation in automotive, aerospace, communications, financial services, biotechnology, electronics, instrumentation, process, and other industries. The MathWorks was founded in 1984 and employs more than 1000 people worldwide.

Leslie Versweyveld

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