Prometheus announced that it has been awarded $700,000 by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program to extend its Open Source Research Exchange Database (RexDB) for the management of autism spectrum disorders research. The overarching aim of the project is to empower autism investigators to make more effective use of data locally and more efficiently exchange data with the scientific community. “Existing technologies do not support the need to maintain integrated data management systems in dynamic research environments,” explains Dr. Leon Rozenblit, CEO of Prometheus Research and Principal Investigator on the project. “Our existing platform, RexDB, is close, but we know from experience that there are a number of essential features still to be developed to close this gap.”

The Research Exchange Database was initially developed to meet needs of the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI) for use on their pioneering multi-site Autism study, the Simons Simplex Collection (SSC). In that study more than 12 universities collected and analyzed data from over 2,700 families with at least one child affected by Autism. The resulting genetic and phenotypic repository, known as SFARI Base, is underpinned by RexDB technology. Since the SSC, RexDB has been adopted by leading academic research centers across the US to overcome the unique challenges of mental and behavioral health research.

Partners who have agreed to collaborate with Prometheus on the grant include the Yale University Child Study Center, the Marcus Autism Center, Weill Cornell Medical College, and the University of Missouri Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders. The NIH SBIR grant will support two years worth of research and development until the end of 2014.

“This software will allow researchers to make better use of scarce research dollars, and will help accelerate progress in understanding autism and other mental disorders,” Dr. Rozenblit added. “We’re thrilled that the NIH has chosen to support the next implementation of RexDB.”

This research is supported by the National Institute Of Mental Health of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R43MH099826. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.