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Blackstone Builds Compute Farm for Pfizer s Genomics Research

NEW YORK, Feb 12 - Blackstone Technology Group said Monday that it has built a compute farm to support genomics-based research at Pfizer’s Discovery Technology Center in Cambridge, Mass.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Blackstone, based in Worcester, Mass., provided hardware and software for the compute farm, which runs on the Linux operating system and uses Intel-based processors.

Under the agreement, Pfizer will also use Blackstone's technologies and services to help establish priorities among thousands of genomics-based drug research targets at the Discovery Technology Center, which Pfizer set up two years ago to leverage innovative technology to speed up the drug discovery process.

Michael Athanas, director of scientific consulting and development at Blackstone, told GenomeWeb that Blackstone customized its existing compute farm technology to meet Pfizer’s needs. Blackstone’s SmartWatch monitoring software, SmartCache data management tool, and SmartBlast software for distributing Blast execution over a cluster of computers were “tuned to Pfizer’s environment and research goals,” Athanas said.

A spokeswoman from Pfizer declined to comment on the system.

Athanas said that Blackstone’s compute farms could cost 1/20 to 1/5 the cost of a mainframe system of comparable computing power, depending on the architecture that is deployed.

Blackstone built a similar compute farm for Biogen in November. Blackstone spokesman Bill Perkins said that the Biogen and Pfizer systems are the first of a total of 10-15 deals with pharmaceutical and biotech companies that Blackstone will announce over the next few months.

Perkins said that Blackstone is experiencing “amazing growth” in this market.

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