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Celera, Compaq Pen Deal to Provide Canadian Academia With Cheap Access to Data

NEW YORK, Nov. 7 — Celera Genomics and Compaq Canada have struck a deal designed to increase access to—and cut by nearly half the price of—Celera’s bioinformatics platform for nonprofit research groups in Canada, the companies said on Wednesday.

The agreement combines the purchasing power of the entire Canadian nonprofit research community into one contract, making Celera’s platform technology much cheaper and easier to access, said John Lewis, Celera’s director of academic sales. 

Research subscribers will get access to the company’s proprietary Celera Discovery System platform, which includes public databases, the company’s own assembled and annotated human- and mouse-genome data, and a set of software tools for analysis, visualization, and comparative genomics. 

Academic research contracts for access to this system have been priced around $15,000, said Lewis, but under the new arrangement the price will fall to around $8,000. He estimated that Celera, based in Rockville, Md., holds fewer than 25 contracts with Canadian academic organizations.

“It allows smaller universities to access our products without a lot of hassles,” Lewis added in an interview. “There’s been some really good work in the Maritime provinces, for example, but they are small universities. This will make it as easy for them as it is for large universities.” 

The business arrangement was designed by Compaq and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. “Celera really benefits by not having to have account management issue with 50 small accounts,” said Lewis. 

The computer company has also established a research team to improve access and tech support for Celera’s products, the companies said. Subscribers will also have a choice of Compaq hardware packages or options by which related products and services will be discounted against the subscription price.

This deal builds upon the companies’ prior collaboration in which Celera built its supercomputing sequence-comparison facility with 800 interconnected Compaq Alpha-based computer systems.

Any changes in the pending merger between Compaq and Hewlett-Packard should not affect this agreement, said Lewis. Compaq Canada is located in Richmond Hill, Ontario.

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