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GSAC is for Swingers: Leveraging Partnerships is the Name of the Genome Industry Game

BOSTON, Oct. 2 - Cruise the exhibit hall at the Hynes Convention Center this week and you might get the feeling you're in an episode of "Sex and the City." Big genomics players can't stop talking about their multiple, and not necessarily exclusive, relationships. At the opening of TIGR's 14th Genome Sequencing and Analysis Conference here tonight, vendors had as much to say about their many partnerships as they did about new product offerings.


At the IBM exhibit, with a footprint the length of four booths and a throng of blue-and-black-clad staffers, marketing pros stressed that the company is "creating interfaces" to their partners' technologies. A flier bore the logos of 18 of IBM's life sciences allies, including other GSAC exhibitors Accelrys, Lion, Molecular Mining, Platform, Spotfire, Structural Bioinformatics, and TurboWorx. (For their part, Accelrys marketing reps are playing up the Big Blue partnership, noting that the color of their Hawaiian shirts is no coincidence.)


Two aisles away, HP's life and materials science group, which just lost its most glorious customer to IBM, hosted mini-exhibits for some of its partners - Genomix, Geospiza, Oracle, and Platform. (Platform execs contended that they're not two-timers - they're friendly with all the hardware vendors.)


Nearby, TeleChem/, famous for its booth attendants' eye-catching uniforms, is paying more than lip service to its partnerships by actually putting them into effect during the show. GSAC attendees can show up with their own cDNA or protein sample or stop by the booth of TeleChem's partner Biosearch Technologies - over in the quieter half of the hall - and order up an oligo. TeleChem chemist Susan Malenbaum will hybridize and wash your sample, and send you and your glass slide over to any of its additional partners - BioRad, Gene Machines, or PerkinElmer - for a free scan. "We want to show that microarray technology is accessible," said Paul Haje, director of business development and marketing.


In spite of the usual grumbling that GSAC is an unwise investment for exhibitors who want to reach pharma R&D customers, booth displays haven't gotten any fewer or smaller this year. Nearly 150 companies have set up shop in the exhibit hall, and among those stretching out far beyond a 100-square foot conventional booth space are Accelrys, Applied Biosystems, HP, IBM, Invitrogen, PerkinElmer, Sun, and Zymark.


GSAC ends on Saturday, October 5 at noon. Stay tuned to GenomeWeb for the remainder of the week for breaking news from the meeting's scientific sessions and from the show floor.

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