When Structural GenomiX decided to buy $2 million to $3 million worth of equipment from Compaq, the computer company’s reputation for its previous deals had a big role. “If you judge companies by the company they keep,” says SGX CEO Tim Harris, “I don’t mind being with Celera and GeneProt.”
In addition to the equipment deal, SGX will also explore a longer-term strategic relationship. “We are committed to an initial purchase and an ongoing partnership with Compaq,” says Tod Klingler, vice president of information sciences at SGX.
The deal provides SGX’s protein-structure prediction operation with Compaq’s Alpha chips. Klingler says he chose Alphas for their speed with protein-prediction algorithms.
During the next year, Compaq will supply SGX with a 1,200-CPU Alpha compute farm running Tru64 Unix and a 100-node Linux/Intel compute farm, says Daniel Joy, business development manager for Compaq’s life sciences group.
Compaq may take an equity stake in SGX, hints Lionel Binns, worldwide life and materials sciences group manager for high-performance technical computing at Compaq. Indeed, his company’s relationship with GeneProt included such a provision.
“Structural GenomiX is the clear leader in modeling proteins for commercial use,” Binns says. “Our strategy is to always look for the emerging leader in any particular area [as] it buys us market presence, credibility, and influence.”
— Ken Howard