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IBM, Lion, Novartis, Pharmacopeia


IBM Adds Turbogenomics Compute Grid Technology to Its Life Science Framework

IBM and TurboGenomics have expanded an existing partnership in order to expand the grid computing capability of IBM's Life Sciences Framework, an open, scalable architecture targeted for drug discovery and development firms.

Under the terms of the new agreement, IBM will offer TurboGenomics' TurboHub application workload management software and its TurboBench workflow management tools through the framework. The products will be integrated with IBM's DiscoveryLink data integration technology. The initial relationship between the companies focused on enabling TurboGenomics' TurboBlast engine to run optimally on IBM server platforms. With TurboBench and TurboHub, IBM will be able to deploy the framework effectively on heterogeneous networks and compute grids.

The partnership leaves both companies open to work with other vendors. IBM spokeswoman Theo Chisholm said that IBM is also interested in partnering with other vendors of “complementary” grid and cluster computing software, such as Platform and Avaki. Andrew Sherman, vice president of operations at TurboGenomics, said that his company has strong relationships with Apple, HP, Sun, and other hardware firms, but “We have chosen to work particularly closely with a few players (including IBM) based on our perception of their expertise and significance in the life sciences computing market, and we will continue to develop relationships using that metric.”

Sherman said that TurboGenomics' existing partnership with IBM “has opened up a substantial number of channel and sales opportunities” and he expects this expanded agreement to augment these prospects.


Lion Teams with Genomics Collaborative to Build Clinical Database

Genomics Collaborative and Lion Bioscience have partnered to create a new database of demographic, epidemiological, and medical information.

The database, called GCI Clinical, complements GCI’s Global Repository database, which contains more than 115,000 human DNA, serum, and tissue samples from patients worldwide. GCI Clinical uses Lion’s SRS integration technology to merge clinical, genotypic, RNA expression, and proteomic expression data.

Genomics Collaborative and its customers will use the database to identify and better understand drug targets and pathways.

Financial terms of the partnership were not disclosed.


Novartis Expands Compugen Collaboration

Novartis and Compugen have expanded a target-identification collaboration that began a year ago to include target validation technology based on RNA interference (RNAi).

Under the terms of the agreement, Novartis is entitled to use the RNAi platform for its internal research and will own the derived results. Compugen will own the RNAi platform and will be entitled to use it for both internal and commercialization purposes.

Compugen’s technology to predict alternative splicing will be a key component of the platform, the company said. An understanding of alternative splicing patterns is expected to play an important role in the design of double-stranded RNA (dsRNA), which can target specific mRNA to silence relevant genes, because a gene can be completely silenced only if the sequence of the dsRNA used is common to all splice variants.


Pharmacopeia OKs Stockholder Rights Plan

Pharmacopeia, the parent company of software vendor Accelrys, said last week that its board of directors has adopted a stockholder rights plan designed to protect against an unsolicited or coercive attempt to take control of the company.

The plan is not being adopted in response to a known attempt to acquire control of the company.

Under the plan, preferred stock purchase rights will be distributed as a dividend at the rate of one right for each share of common stock, payable to stockholders as of the close of business on September 17, 2002. Each right entitles the holder to purchase one one-hundredth of a share of Series A junior participating preferred stock at an exercise price of $60 per right.

The rights become exercisable ten calendar days after a person or group acquires or announces plans to acquire ownership of fifteen percent or more of the company’s common stock. If the rights become exercisable, then holders will be entitled to purchase shares at one-half of the then-current market price.

Joseph Mollica, CEO, said in a statement that “a rights plan provides one of the best available means of protecting the interests of stockholders. The rights are not designed to prevent an acquisition of the company on fair and equitable terms; rather, the rights plan provides the board with flexibility and an enhanced capability to ensure that stockholders realize the full value of their investment in the company.”

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