Sage Integrative Bionetwork Community: Scalable Resource for the State of Washington


To more accurately and comprehensively model biological systems through their network of interactions

Anticipated Impact: 

Identification of molecular pathways that can be targeted to develop safer and more effective drugs and diagnostic tests


Human disease frequently causes complex changes in biological systems and molecular pathways, and, consequently, is often not treatable with individual drugs that target a single step in a pathway. Sage Bionetworks is a new nonprofit medical research organization that is developing a novel approach to biological and drug development research. Sage's approach uses powerful computational tools to create holistic models of biological systems that map interactions among the multiple pathways that can influence disease severity, drug efficacy, and drug safety. Sage will create the "Sage Commons" for open-access research on systems biology and network models and for the application of this research to biological problems and human disease. LSDF will fund two facets of the Commons: 1) the development and implementation of a computing infrastructure that will enable scalable delivery of network data models and analyses to collaborators, and 2) the creation of the Washington Partners Program, which will actively engage Washington's academic and biotechnology communities in next-generation systems biology research. By accelerating the identification of pathways that can be targeted to develop better drugs or diagnostic tests, the Sage Commons will provide Washington biotechnology companies with competitive advantages in drug and diagnostic development, help launch new companies and create jobs, and retain some of the world's best computational biologists in Washington.

2011 LSDF/WBBA Open House Poster

Systems Biology and Network Models

Grant Update

Principal Investigator:
Stephen Friend
Grantee Organization:
Sage Bionetworks
Grant Title:
Sage Integrative Bionetwork Community: Scalable Resource for the State of Washington
Grant Cohort and Year:
2009 Program Grant (02)
Grant Period:
07/16/2010 - 07/15/2015 (Completed)
Grant Amount:
Over the past four years, our thinking has evolved from an initial focus on tools for biological network modeling to an emphasis on building truly interactive biomedical research communities, sharing not only a wide variety of data, but analysis, results, and insights on a shared knowledge environment. As our thinking has evolved, our informatics platform for supporting these efforts has matured. Synapse is currently hosted online free for public use ( and supports a growing user base, including supporting a number of large-scale collaborative projects like the DREAM challenges (!Challenges:DREAM8) and The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) Pan-Cancer consortium. These projects are providing evidence that the Synapse platform has the capability to support research with the potential to make fundamental advances in the understanding and eventual treatment of human diseases. All ten Washington Partners Programs (WPP) have been completed, in collaboration with our partners at the University of Washington and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Impact in Washington

Location of LSDF Grantee
Locations of Collaborations/Areas of Impact

Legislative Districts:
11, 34, 36, 37, 43, 46, 48

Health Impacts

Systems Biology and Network Models