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IBM Widens its Proteomics Network with Consortium Membership

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In addition to last week’s launch of Blueprint with MDS Proteomics, IBM made further inroads into the proteomics world by joining the Global e-MS Consortium spearheaded by Micromass of Manchester, UK.

Big Blue is the eleventh company — and the first hardware provider — to join the consortium, whose members are working together to improve the workflow in computational mass spectrometry.

John Pappas, e-server business development manager for IBM, said the company is “focused on proteomics” as a key part of its life science initiative. Pappas said proteomics poses a number of large-scale data management issues that IBM hopes to resolve with its hardware, software, and middleware.

IBM is collaborating with Micromass on several initiatives. In the first, it is supplying its AIX 5L Unix-based platform for Micromass’ ProteinLynx Global Server. In a second project, IBM’s DiscoveryLink will be integrated with the Micromass OpenLynx Global Server.

ProteinLynx is a platform for database searching and matching of proteins and peptides. Steve Smith, software marketing manager for Micromass, said the process has been offline, but Micromass is hoping to make it available in real time through its work with IBM.

The AIX 5L platform runs the program around five times faster than the Windows NT-based system it was run on previously, Smith said.

Micromass demonstrated the ProteinLynx system at the American Society for Mass Spectrometry conference in Chicago last week and IBM plans to exhibit the system this week at Sun’s JavaOne Conference in San Francisco to demonstrate its ability to run 64-bit Java.

In addition, IBM’s DiscoveryLink will be used to integrate a number of databases behind Micromass’ OpenLynx Global Server, an Oracle-based system that allows users to mine and visualize archived data from multiple mass spectral and chomatographic workstations.

IBM is writing a wrapper for Micromass to integrate the database into DiscoveryLink. Smith said the project should be completed by the end of June.

Pappas said IBM has no direct collaborations with other members of the e-MS consortium, who include Spotfire, NuGenesis, BioRad, and SSI, but hopes to collaborate with them in the future. “We’re really going after a lot of partners in the life science space,” said Pappas.

Smith noted that IBM’s involvement in the e-MS consortium does not restrict Micromass from working with other hardware vendors. “We’re keeping our options open,” he said.

— BT

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