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Sun Forms Industry-Wide Collaboration to Develop Open Platform for Life Sciences

NEW YORK, Feb 21 - Sun Microsystems said Wednesday it would partner with the Biotechnology Industry Organization, the National Cancer Institute, and several commercial bioinformatics vendors to support a collaborative effort to develop an open platform for the life sciences based on Java and XML.

The proposed initiative, temporarily referred to as Life Force or LI4 (Lifescience Informatics Interoperability Infrastructure Initiative) aims to develop an open platform to support data integration and interoperability and to focus the growing number of standards efforts.

TimeLogic, Blackstone, Incogen, LabBook, and Oracle said at the UBS Warburg BIO CEO and Investor conference in New York that have already signed on to participate in the development of the platform and facilitate the development of Java and XML standards for its deployment.

The new effort, which is still in the exploratory stage, builds on the findings of Sun Microsystems’ Informatics Advisory Council. Members of the IAC include representatives from GlaxoSmithKline, Monsanto, the National Research Council of Canada, Oxford Glycosciences, Pedigree Masterfoods, the University College of London, the University of California-San Diego, the University of Chicago, and from the University of Minnesota.

Sun intends to contribute the underlying infrastructure for the open platform, which the company hopes will form the eventual hub for a broad variety of life science computing needs, including bioinformatics, cheminformatics, genomics, proteomics, pharmacogenomics, metabolomics, and clinical informatics. 

A prototype of the system will be demonstrated June 24-27 at the BIO 2001 conference in San Diego.

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