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At 1200, IBM Life Sciences Still Growing Strong

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IBM seems to be snapping up more than just patents these days. During the last six months, the 800-pound gorilla of bioinformatics has hired three high-profile bioinformatics executives — Sia Zadeh, Yury Rozenman, and Frank White — to join the 1,200-strong life sciences group (including 700 former PriceWaterhouseCoopers employees acquired last year) in Somers, NY, and has no plans to stop adding talent.

Zadeh, who lost his job as head of life sciences for Sun Microsystems last fall, is the most recent addition to the IBM team. As senior worldwide manager at IBM Life Sciences, Zadeh will focus on “e-business-on-demand” in the life sciences. In December, Rozenman left his job as director of life sciences business development at Platform Computing to join IBM as global pharmaceutical marketing manager. And White, who lost his job as director of business development at InforMax in 2001, joined IBM as alliance program manager last August.

Big Blue seems to have quite a lure: Rozenman told GT sister publication BioInform that he left Platform by choice, and Barbara Eckman, a former bioinformaticist at GlaxoSmithKline who joined IBM in 2001 to design wrappers for DiscoveryLink, says she was drawn away from her previous job by IBM’s strength in database design. “My experience in database integration told me that the federated approach was the way to go, and I was convinced IBM was the one who was going to be able to do it — who could do it best,” she says.

So far there isn’t much evidence that attrition is diminishing the group’s size. In fact, the only prominent manager to leave IBM life sciences in recent months is Jeff Augen, who gave up his position as worldwide director of strategy for IBM’s Life Science Solutions to lead startup TurboWorx in October. At the time, Augen told Bioinform he left IBM on good terms, but felt the urge “to do something more entrepreneurial.”

— John MacNeil

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