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BIOQuebec Teams with IBM Canada to Boost Bioinformatics Access for Quebec Biotechs

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BIOQuebec, a group of 200 businesses supporting the growth of Quebec-based biotechnology companies, has entered into a partnership with IBM Canada to provide local biotech firms with bioinformatics solutions for genomic and proteomics research.

Michel Dennis, president of BIOQuebec, said that while Quebec is a “biotech leader,” in order to maintain this leadership and transfer it to the field of genomics and proteomics, “Quebec needs a critical mass of bioinformaticians and leading-edge equipment.” He said the partnership should accelerate and promote access to leading-edge equipment and global computer solutions for Quebec biotechs.

“IBM plans to leverage this partnership to accelerate the bioinformatics shift in Quebec and thereby allow the Quebec industry to reach its full potential,” said Denis Desbiens, vice president Quebec, IBM Canada.

IBM Canada has expanded upon its Net Generation program — a fund of several hundred million US dollars to invest in early stage Internet and IT companies — to include a life sciences division.

“Just as our Net Generation program did for Internet companies, we are offering to become technology, and in some cases, financial partners of Quebec life sciences enterprises,” said Claude Leclair, executive director for Eastern Canada of IBM’s Net Generation Life Sciences unit.

The Net Generation Life Sciences Division will support Quebec firms operating in the fields of biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, genomics, e-health, and other life sciences.

IBM Canada did not provide a breakdown of the amount of Net Generation funding it intends to devote to life science companies.

IBM’s $100 million US life sciences initiative was launched in August. So far, the company has formed partnerships with NetGenics, MDS Proteomics, Structural Bioinformatics, NuTec Sciences, and LabBook.

Last week, IBM’s Life Science division announced a collaboration with NuTec Sciences and Emory University’s Winship Cancer Institute to screen individual patients for specific tumor-associated genes. Under the collaboration, NuTec and IBM have developed GenesysSI, an integrated inforamtics system that combines NuTec’s software for searching and analyzing gene expression with the processing capabilities of its cluster of 1,250 IBM eServer systems.

— BT

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