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Lion, IBM May Soon Announce Partnership

NEW YORK, Nov. 8 – Lion Bioscience is set to announce a collaboration with IBM “soon,” sources close to the deal told GenomeWeb on Thursday.

It was not immediately clear what the terms of partnership will be, what end the collaboration will seek, or what technology either firm will bring to the table.

IBM denied that there is a deal in the works with Lion, and a spokeswoman from the German bioinformatics giant's offices in Cambridge, Mass., would not comment on any deal. However, a source at the Heidelberg-based company last week said that the company “should announce a deal with a standard-setting-type company by the end of the month.”

The deal comes one day after GenomeWeb reported that Lion was preparing to close a pair of large i-Biology partnerships  in the coming months and has set its sights on a “very promising” potential acquisition target. This revelation was later denied by a Lion spokeswoman.

However, in a separate interview made after Lion reported its second-quarter earnings  on Thursday morning, Peter Willinger, the company’s vice president of global finance, said that the company is “still watching our competition and we have some [merger and acquisition] activities [planned].” He declined to offer details. 

He did say, however, that Lion’s next big announcement was likely to entail a partnership with an undisclosed company and that any acquisition would take place at a later date. 

IBM, based in Armonk, NY, was a late-comer to life sciences informatics, having made a push for the market in the spring with the release of its DiscoveryLink data management and integration systems.

Caroline Kovac, vice president of IBM’s life sciences unit, said in April that rather than competing with information management companies in the life-sciences arena—such as Lion Biosciences or InforMax—IBM would seek partnerships with them. 

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