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IBM, Healthcare Initiative, EPA, DOE, Compugen, Spotfire, Virtual Cell Workshop


IBM to Commit $250 Million to New Healthcare Initiative

IBM last week announced that it plans to invest around $250 million in a new healthcare initiative over the next three years. The company said the funds would go toward new hiring of healthcare specialists, solutions development, research and development projects, IBM Business Partner collaborations, and other programs.

In line with the healthcare initiative, the company has entered into a collaboration with Duke University Health System to develop an on-demand information management system to integrate clinical data, such as patient records and lab tests, with research findings about genes and proteins. IBM said it will also partner with the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute at the University of South Florida on a disease management system designed to help researchers and clinicians screen patients at risk for diseases and identify potential clinical trial participants faster.

The company also announced a number of new healthcare offerings and solutions that draw from its consulting practices, information resources, and customized industry solutions, including a new IBM Research Healthcare and Life Sciences Institute, which will work with IBM’s eight research labs “to drive invention and technology innovation specifically targeting the healthcare, life sciences and the pharmaceutical industries.”

The new initiative also supports the company’s recently launched Information-Based Medicine business unit [BioInform 01-19-04].

EPA, DOE to Collaborate on Life Science Supercomputing

Last week the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy signed a memorandum of understanding to link supercomputers in EPA’s North Carolina facility and DOE’s Sandia National Laboratory as part of a larger collaboration in high-performance computing for life science research.

One focus of the agreement is computational toxicology, an area of great interest to the EPA, which recently launched a formal computational toxicology program [BioInform 01-12-04].

According to the MOU, available at ord/WebPubs/DOEMOU.pdf, the agreement will expand an existing collaboration between the agencies in several particular application areas, including “(1) environmental protection, environment and energy technology, sustainable energy use, ecological monitoring, material flows, and environmental and facilities clean-up; (2) high-performance computing and modeling; and (3) emerging scientific opportunities in genomics, nanotechnology, remote sensing, bioinformatics, land restoration, material sciences, molecular profiling, and information technology, as well as other areas providing promising opportunities for future joint efforts by EPA’s and DOE’s research.”

Abbot Extends Agreement with Compugen

Compugen said last week that Abbott Laboratories has extended its agreement to use Compugen’s technology for target identification and prioritization.

The companies announced the initial agreement in January 2003.

Under the terms of the extended agreement, Abbott will receive several updates of Compugen’s Genecarta genome, transcriptome, and proteome database.

SurroMed to Use Spotfire DecisionSite Posters

Spotfire said last week that SurroMed has agreed to use Spotfire DecisionSite Posters as its collaborative biomarker discovery analysis platform.

The DecisionSite Posters application will allow SurroMed to share biomarker identification data with its partners and customers securely over the Internet. From the SurroStat Poster, SurroMed said that it and its collaborators would be able to dynamically interact, filter, and drill down into the biomarker analysis results, adding comments or questions to the data in real time.

Virtual Cell Workshop Scheduled for June

The National Resource for Cell Analysis and Modeling at the University of Connecticut Health Center has scheduled its fifth annual Virtual Cell Short Course for June 14-16, 2004.

The workshop is designed to enable cell biologists and biophysicists to develop a Virtual Cell model of their experimental system. The course will consist of one morning of introductory lectures presented by the developers and selected users of the software, followed by continuous interactive, hands-on sessions using the software for developing models and performing simulations.

The course will be limited to about 10 people.

Further information is available at

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