Imagine trying to support genomic research when everybody has different names for the same genes,” is the analogy used by Dana Vanderwall from BMS to describe the significance of the HELM (Hierarchical Editing Language for Macromolecules) project. This Pistoia Alliance project is designed to allow standardised encoding for biologics and meaningful representation of their component data in a graphical format.
HELM, which was developed at Pfizer, is a way to solve the problem of how to consistently represent macro molecules such as oligonucleotides, peptides, proteins, vaccines and anti-bodies. These complex structures have long challenged informaticians because they are large and unwieldy and are impractical to represent at the atomic level. At the same time, the presence of non-natural chemical modifications makes it impossible to represent them by sequence alone. Read the full story here.