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European Bioinformatics Institute, State University of New York, Lion Bioscience, University of Pennsylvania, Sun Microsystems


EBI to Launch SME Support Program

The European Bioinformatics Institute’s Industry Program is planning to launch a support program for small-to-medium enterprises with interests in the bioinformatics field, the institute said last week.

According to an EBI statement, the existing industry group “is targeted towards large companies in the pharmaceutical, consumer-goods, biotechnology, chemical, and agricultural industries.” The EBI now plans to offer a similar level of workshops, training, research, and co-development opportunities for the SME community.

Initial plans for the SME Support Program include a bi-annual forum for member companies to network with each other and with EBI staff; training and workshops that cover areas of research and development within the EBI that reflect the interests of program members; and a dedicated support helpdesk to assist with questions concerning the EBI, its services, and research.

The EBI said it expects to fund the program from governmental trade and industry departments and subscription fees from member companies ranging from £3,000 to £10,000 (US$4,800 - $16,000).

An open forum will be held on May 12, 2003, for interested companies to discuss and outline the proposed program in detail. Further information is available at the EBI website,


UB Bioinformatics Center’s Federal Aid in Doubt

According to a report in the Buffalo News last week, it looks like Congress will provide less than half the money the State University of New York at Buffalo requested for its Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics this year.

So far, Congress has approved only $2 million of the $12.3 million UB requested last spring, the paper reported.

The center’s director, Jeffrey Skolnick, told the paper that the center, which gets most of its funding from the state and private donors, would not be at risk if the federal funding doesn’t come through. “We are going to do the best we can with what we have,” he said. “More is better. It allows us to accelerate the process. But we’re not going to roll over and die depending on what the answer is. I’m determined to make this succeed.”


Lion Predicts Healthy Q3 Earnings

Lion Bioscience said in a statement last week that it expects to show “strong revenue growth” for the third quarter ended December 31, 2002.

The company cited “large end-of-the-year sales” of its SRS integration technology to several undisclosed pharmaceutical companies, as well as its previously announced $2 million project payment from Bayer as reasons for the revenue boost.

Lion announced later in the week that Eli Lilly had acquired a global license for SRS.

Revenue in the third quarter increased by a “substantial double-digit percentage” over the €5.2 million in revenue the company reported in the second quarter, according to CEO Friedrich von Bohlen, although the numbers did not reach the level of the year-ago period, in which Lion reported €10.3 million in revenue.

Von Bohlen added that he is confident the company will reach its planned full-year revenue target of €30 million.

Full details regarding Lion’s third-quarter results will be announced on Feb. 5.


U Penn Subscribes to Confirmant's Protein Atlas

Confirmant has revealed the identity of the first subscriber to its Protein Atlas [BioInform 01-06-03]: The University of Pennsylvania licensed the proteomics database in a multi-year agreement.

Financial and intellectual property details of the research partnership were not disclosed.

Michael Liebman, director of computational biology at the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute of the University of Pennsylvania, said in a statement that his team chose the Protein Atlas “because of its unique, protein-centric view of the human genome. This resource is not only scientifically unique in its breadth, but is also not commercially available elsewhere.”


SUN, CTC, Hitachi Provide Genome Server for Tokyo University

Sun Microsystems, along with Itochu Techno-Science Corp. (CTC) and Hitachi, has built a customized genome analysis server system for the University of Tokyo’s Human Genome Analysis Center, the companies said last week.

The system, installed in the university’s Institute of Medical Science, comprises eight Sun Fire 15K Unix servers and two midsize servers for a total of 788 CPUs. The system is capable of processing data at a rate of 1.5 teraflops, which makes it the largest server system for genome analysis in Japan, according to the companies.

Hitachi will be responsible for overall system operation and management, while CTC installed the networking equipment and will provide maintenance services. Sun supplied the servers and will provide technical support.

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