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biomedical modelling

and refinement of medical equipment used in both analysis and treatments. Integrated Engineering Software (IES) has developed software, which helps engineers test all parameters before committing to a design – turning the geometry into products. One area of IES’s activities is the use of

simulation software in the design of blood pumps, with special focus on the design of the electromagnet coils that drive the pump. The perfect alignment of the magnet configurations is crucial in the design, so, through simulation software the effect of frictional forces can be tested and taken into account in the design of the pump. Bruce Klimpke, technical director, says: ‘The

general limitation with software is how fast you can perform the simulation – speed is the big issue – how fast can we build computers? Hitherto, many computer systems have depended on CPUs – central processor units, but increasingly modern systems are based on GPUs – graphical processor units. We are still at an early stage with developing our software on GPUs, but it looks like a promising way to make computers that allow our simulations to perform faster than before.’ As well as directly dealing with biomedical

modelling, IES also deals with the simulation of machines used in this area, such as in the design of MRI scanners. The software used can help with the design of much smaller MRI scanners, which can reduce the costs involved and also the common difficulties in finding suitable locations to place the scanners. When changing the size of an MRI scanner the most crucial area to be managed is that of the DC electromagnetic field. Without this being

IES software is used in the design of RF shielding for MRI installations, as in this example from ITC Services

Incidentally, as well as the simulation

of blood analysis, certain IES packages are also integrated in airport scanner for explosives analysis.

Collaboration Accelrys, a scientific enterprise R&D software and services company, supports industries and organisations that rely on science as a differentiator. Its Enterprise Research & Development Architecture, built on its Pipeline Pilot platform, provides a flexible scientific solution optimised to integrate a range of science, experimental processes and information requirements across research, process scale-up and early manufacturing. The company recently announced

a strategic collaboration with The Edge Software Consultancy to offer new assay, study management and analysis software solutions, which it says will boost R&D efficiency and productivity for biopharmaceutical organisations engaged in early-stage screening through pharmacology and in vivo experimentation.



measured and plotted very accurately, the image will not be of the required quality. With any form of simulation the more

complex a model the greater the computational power required. With IES’s finite element method, the system is much easier to use and even the large amount of parametric changes that are usually required will take less time, improving time to market and cost efficiency. Klimpke adds: ‘Our software allows all of

these devices and components to be tested without the need to build prototypes, whether it’s a scanner or an artificial heart. In the medical equipment community robustness and safety are big issues and you want to be able to test and simulate these features before manufacture and before in vivo use.’

32 SCIENTIFIC COMPUTING WORLD Accelrys’s president and CEO Max

Carnecchia says: ‘We believe that the biological data management and analysis solutions from our partnership with The Edge are the next step in building a comprehensive informatics and experiment tracking solution for the biopharmaceutical industry. By combining the strengths of Symyx Notebook by Accelrys for capturing and managing unstructured scientific information with The Edge software for handling structured bioassay data, we are offering customers a best-in-class solution for biology data management.’ ‘With The Edge’s focus on workflow

optimisation and improving the productivity of study scientists, we are pleased and excited to be collaborating with Accelrys to bring everything

a biologist needs into a single, unified suite,’ says Andrew Lemon, managing director at The Edge. ‘Our design approach has been to minimise complexity and maximise the ease with which scientific data can be captured, which aligns very clearly with Accelrys’ product development philosophy. This, in combination with Accelrys’ proven track record of strong product, customer and partner support makes them the right company to engage with in a strategic collaboration.’

Market analysis Frank Brown, Accelrys’ chief science officer, describes how the current economic uncertainty and generally difficult situation for raising finance could actually be beneficial for both developers and users of this type of software: ‘The economic market is a tail wind for software like ours. When there is a lot of R&D money around then, somewhat counter-intuitively, national funding for a group of academics or internal funding for big companies tends to drive these groups to try to stitch everything together on their own. ‘But, as the money starts to dry up, the thinking is that we need one central platform to ensure that everything that somebody does in one location will work with what other groups and companies are doing. This software community will not be successful if it continues to have a bunch of niche players that don’t work together. We are looking for a biomed software approach that works something like iPhone apps with the equivalent of Apple as a governing body.’ Qlucore’s Ivarson comments: ‘We are still in

the early phase of development. There are many companies in this field and many of us are small and relatively young, so I believe there will be a big growth phase of biomedical modelling software, mainly because you can’t analyse big data sets without this type of software.’ However, he cautions: ‘There is a factor in

the market that is working against this growth, which is the tendency of a lot of R&D grants to focus on instruments and equipment – hardware – rather than software, so to see significant market change in this area we need to change the perceived value of software, which is compromised by the relative low cost of “apps” and the easy availability of free downloads.’ For IES, Bruce Klimpke identifies the

resilience of the healthcare marketplace, especially in the United States. ‘Our sales reflect that this type of software is increasingly in demand. Also, consider that 16 per cent of US GDP is spent on healthcare. Although we are talking about belt tightening in many parts of the general economy, I do not see that problem in the healthcare sector.’

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