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Eli Lilly to Open Systems Biology Research Center in Singapore

NEW YORK, June 26 - Eli Lilly will establish a new research facility in Singapore to study systems biology, the company said Tuesday. 

The R&D facility, which will employ up to 50 scientists when it opens by 2002, is the first biomedical research center to receive support from Singapore's $600 million R&D fund designed to bring private investment in biomedicine and biotechnology to Singapore.

The new facility, the Lilly Center for Systems Biology, is expected to spend $140 million in research over five years. Currently Eli Lilly, based in Indianapolis, Ind., jointly runs a clinical pharmacology center with Singapore's National Science and Technology Board, and the National University of Singapore.

Systems biology is an emerging discipline that focuses on simultaneously studying many levels of biological information, such as microarray gene expression and differential protein analysis of cells involved in disease. The approach was first popularized by the Institute of Systems Biology, an independent research center in Seattle founded by Leroy Hood and other well-known genomics and proteomics researchers.

"During this extraordinary time in science, advanced bioinformatic approaches, such as the ones to be used at the [Center for Systems Biology], will be the key to accelerating drug discovery and development," August Watanabe, vice president for science and technology at Eli Lilly, said in a statement. "These techniques will increase the probabilities of technical success, provide a deeper understanding of biological systems and help us deliver better drugs for some of the most urgent, unmet medical needs."

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