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Sun Creates Life Sciences Partner Program; Forms Alliance with TimeLogic

MIAMI, Sept 13 – Sun Microsystems (Nasdaq: SUNW) of Palo Alto, Calif., said Wednesday that it is intensifying its push in life sciences by forming a new partnership effort and an informatics advisory council.

The partnering plan, called the Discovery Informatics program, is an attempt to leverage the company’s developer, customer, and channel programs to help life science organizations in their efforts to develop and distribute tools and data.

Siamak Zadeh, Sun’s group marketing manager, high performance computing, declined to say how much Sun is investing in its life sciences effort.

Members of the program include Blackstone Technology Group, CuraGen (Nasdaq: CRGN), DoubleTwist, Genetics Computer Group, Geospiza, the Institute   of Computational Genomics, InforMax, Lion Bioscience (Nasdaq: LEON), Molecular Simulations, Rosetta Inpharmatics (Nasdaq: RSTA), Synomics, and TimeLogic.

These companies will collaborate with Sun to come up with integrated systems to serve the life science sector.

Participants will receive discounts on development systems and get technical support in porting, optimizing, and benchmarking systems. Sun’s sales and marketing units will also provide assistance.

Partners in that group will also have the chance to be involved as supporting members of the informatics advisory council, which will be a consultative group for commercial and academic representatives to assist in planning Sun's future hardware, software, and service offerings for the life sciences space.

Zadeh declined to name the core members of the advisory council but said more information will be released when the council meets in November.

Separately, Sun said it had formed an alliance with TimeLogic to offer algorithm acceleration products to computational biologists. TimeLogic has ported its DeCypher sequence analysis accelerator technology to the Solaris operating environment.

As part of the agreement, Sun and TimeLogic will jointly-market the Sun Technical Compute Farm integrated with DeCypher technology.

DeCypher technology is designed to speed processing of common bioinformatics algorithms such as BLAST, Smith-Waterman, Hidden Markov Models, and FrameSearch.

The two companies claimed that the DeCypher and Sun compute farm combination has been able to accelerate a Smith-Waterman algorithm more than 900-fold.

By deploying DeCypher technology on the Sun TCF, bioinformaticists avoid the expense associated with configuring non-resident accelerators to run on a given server architecture, said Sun.

In addition to making DeCypher technology available on the Sun TCF, Sun and TimeLogic are working to integrate DeCypher with all other Sun Enterprise servers.

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