A new company, WaX Info, has been formed to market the WaX medical knowledge publishing system developed at Cambridge University's medical informatics unit.

The company is to be run by Tim Benson, a well-known medical informatics expert; Professor Rudolf Hanka, who headed the team that developed WaX; and medical director Iain Buchan.

It has obtained start-up venture capital funding of£250,000 from the HSBC UK Enterprise Fund.

WaX - Web Active Extension - allows doctors to build and maintain their own libraries of distributed medical information. It is based on the idea of an 'electronic book' - a local copy of information whose original is held elsewhere.

The WaX software ensures that these 'borrowed' local copies are automatically kept in step with the original source material whenever the latter is updated.

'There is a real need in the medical profession to be able to retrieve and check against the most up-to-date information on treatments, services iefand so on, ' said Mr Benson.

'WaX is intuitively acceptable as it organises information pages in virtual books placed in electronic libraries.'

The NHS Executive is already funding a series of nationally relevant WaX books, says the company.

About 3 per cent of English GPs are using it, following pilot projects started in the mid-1990s.