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LaunchCyte Signs on to Distributed Computing Pilot Project with Juno

NEW YORK, May 1 - Bioinformatics incubator LaunchCyte has agreed to participate in a trial project using Juno Online Services' distributed computing services, the companies said Tuesday.

Juno will begin conducting the pilot project later this quarter using data and algorithms supplied by LaunchCyte, of Pittsburg, Pa. Upon completion, two of LaunchCyte's three development-stage companies will evaluate whether to enter into paid arrangements with Juno for its computing services.

Although the agreement brings no guarantee of revenues for New York-based Juno, it marks the first potential customer for the Internet provider's distributed computing services, which it began offering in February. 

One of LaunchCyte's startups will use the distributed computing services in developing computational tools to identify clusters of relationships among genes, according to LaunchCyte CEO Thomas Penzinger. The other company that will use the services is developing a proprietary protein screening technology for drug discovery.

Gary Baker, a spokesman for Juno, did not release other details of the transaction, except to say that "no significant amount of cash is changing hands at this point."

In February, Juno hired Yury Rozenman, a former bioinformaticist at Applied Biosystems, to head its distributed computing effort, and said that the company was looking for distributed computing customers to bolster its Internet access business.

LaunchCyte most recently raised $2 million last October in initial financing. The one year-old incubator also has a third company under development, focused on optimizing the scheduling and revenue from hospital technology.  
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