The need to manage, analyse and interpret the volumes of data and literature generated by modern high-throughput biology has become a major barrier to progress. Research at the University of Manchester on interoperability and advanced interfaces has resulted in innovative software (Utopia Documents) that links biomedical data with scientific literature. The software has been adopted by international publishing houses (Portland Press, Elsevier, Springer, etc.), allowing them to explore new business models, and by pharmaceutical companies (e.g. AstraZeneca, Roche), providing new opportunities to explore more efficient, cost-effective methods for exploiting and sharing in-house data and knowledge. The research also led to a spin-out company, Lost Island Labs, in 2012, which expects a profit in its first year.