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Entropia Signs Isis Pharmaceuticals as First Life Sciences Peer-to-Peer Computing Customer

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Entropia clinched a crucial client win recently as Isis Pharmaceuticals agreed to use the company’s DCGrid product line to distribute its computational tasks among its network of PCs and laptops.

While unable to disclose any details on the number of PCs hooked into the network, Martin Stuart, Entropia’s vice president of life sciences, said “the scale of the network we’re enabling within Isis will significantly surpass their existing Linux cluster capability.”

Stuart said that Isis had been mulling the technology for some time, but only recently was Entropia able to convince the company that they could quickly integrate their applications onto the distributed platform. “That’s what tipped the scales,” he said.

Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed. Stuart said that while Entropia is heading toward a pricing model based on the number of nodes in the distributed environment, deals with early adopters such as Isis are based more on a consulting model.

The agreement comes at a critical point for Entropia, which has announced pilot projects at Bristol-Myers Squibb and Novartis, but had yet to sign a paying customer in the life sciences. Parabon Computing, one of Entropia’s competitors for the as-yet unrealized life sciences P2P computing market, has suffered the consequences of this slow adoption trend already. Sources close to Parabon have said the company has been forced to lay off a large portion of its staff and is quickly running out of cash.

Stuart said that while the adoption process has been slow, the experiences gained through the pilot projects have paid off with this agreement. “A lot of companies have looked at the technology. We’ve learned a great deal and this is the first opportunity we’ve had to put those ideas into practice.”

— BT

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