A small company called Biobase (Wolfenbüttel, Germany) on 18 January at once tripled in size by acquiring Proteome Inc. (Beverly, Massachusetts), a database subsidiary of Incyte Corp. (Wilmington, Delaware).
All six Proteome databases, integrating proteomic information of organisms ranging from yeast to humans, will be folded into Biobases existing portfolio, which already contained databases on, for example, transcription factors and signal transduction pathways.
The transfer could be good news for some academic researchers who have been complaining about steep access fees that were introduced by Incyte three years ago. According to Edgar Wingender, Chief Scientific Officer at Biobase, the company plans to introduce freely accessible light versions of all databases, including the Yeast Proteome Database (YPD) and HumanPSD, which combines human, mouse and rat data. Only the C. elegans database, which competes with the publicly available Wormbase, will be completely free.
Yeast researcher Nava Segev, at the University of Illinois in Chicago, welcomes the reappearance of free databases, but remains cautious about the overall impact of the sale. Well have to wait and see how functional the free versions are, she says, and hope that a small company will be able to keep up with exponentially growing amounts of information.