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AxCell Becomes First Firm to Use IBM Data-Mining Tool for Bioinformatics

NEW YORK, Aug. 16 - AxCell today said it will use IBM's DB2 Intelligent Miner technology to help its scientists determine how proteins interact in cellular-communication networks.


Though the deal represents the first time that IBM has seen its middleware applied as a bioinformatics tool, a company official stressed that the company will not be venturing to compete with traditional bioinformatics shops.


The Intelligent Miner software has been used in financial, insurance, and retail applications since it was introduced around six years ago, according to Sharon Nunes, director of IBM's life-science solutions division.

AxCell interim CEO Michael Becker, whose firm has been using IBM's DiscoveryLink software since last winter, said his company jumped at the chance to work with the computer giant when he learned it wanted to try the Intelligent Miner as a life-sciences application.


"It was a natural fit," said Becker. "It allowed us to access [IBM's] software and it provided IBM essentially with a reference point that it could use, so as they try to develop intelligently Miner for life-science customers that we can serve as a reference point for them."


Neither side would say how much, or whether, AxCell paid for the software, which the company essentially is beta testing for IBM, said Nunes.


"We will not be making our mining tools specifically available for [life-science] companies, but when we have a company that is interested in using them and testing them ... we're certainly going to sell to them," Nunes said in an interview.


But she stressed that IBM is not interested in setting its foot on bioinfomatics turf full-time. "Our focus is really on the architecture and the middleware," Nunes said. "We are not intending to go full-force into any area that has to do with bioinformatics tools."

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