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Viaken Opens UK Office to Go After European Business

NEW YORK, Nov 27 - Viaken Systems launched its European operations by opening an office near Cambridge in Great Chesterford, UK, the company announced Monday.

The company expects some thirty percent of its business to come from Europe where there are about 1500 pharma and biotech companies or one-third of the world's pharmaceutical and biotech industry, according to Viaken.

Viaken believes European life sciences companies are becoming more open to hosted services due to the expense of building a bioinformatics infrastructure and the difficulty of finding qualified bioinformaticists, said Gardner.

“Europe has come from behind in terms of outsourcing but they’re adopting it much more rapidly” than counterparts in North America, said Stephen Gardner, Viaken’s vice president and CTO, who joined the company in July to direct its European operations.

Even though Europe entered the outsourcing game late, about three years ago, it will probably overtake the US in that area in a short period of time, Gardner maintained.

He cited the $1.5 billion global IT outsourcing deal between IBM and Aventis announced in May as one example of European willingness to use outsourcing strategies. Outsourcing is becoming common in clinical trials research as well, he added.

To meet the expected demand for its services, Viaken plans to expand the new office’s current staff of two to 15 over the next six to nine months, said Gardner.

The new office will be a sales and support site as well as a research and development facility. The company anticipates that the Cambridge area location will help it continue its relationships with the Sanger Center and the European Bioinformatics Institute on the deployment of Ensembl as a commercial target discovery system.

Gardner will also develop partnerships with other European technology companies and introduce Viaken's product and service offerings to European pharma and biotechs.

He expects to rely on his experience in founding Synomics and the Astra Bioinformatics Centre to help him establish the Viaken name in Europe.

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