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Paradigm Genetics, Lion Bioscience, RLX Technologies, Spotfire, IBM, Stanford University, GeneticXchange


Paradigm and Lion Win $11.7M ATP Grant

Paradigm Genetics and Lion Bioscience said last week that they have been awarded a five-year $11.7 million Advanced Technology Program Grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology to support development of a Target Assessment Technologies Suite (TATS) intended to increase the number and success rate of validated targets for product development.

Paradigm, headquartered in Research Triangle Park, NC, and Lion of Heidelberg, Germany, will participate equally in the grant, which they said is the largest ATP grant ever awarded in bioinformatics.

Lion and Paradigm have been collaborating since January 2000 on another project, a metabolic profiling database called MetaTrace. In November 2001, the companies agreed to expand the five-year co-development and co-marketing alliance.


RLX Installs 700-Blade Cluster at Sanger Institute

RLX Technologies of Houston, Texas, has sold a 700-blade cluster to the Sanger Institute and is in talks with other potential customers, including the NIH and Novartis, who are interested in applying blade server technology to their bioinformatics problems, said John Schmitz, product marketing manager at RLX.

The company’s technology, which squeezes the full power of a traditional server into a 4-inch by 20-inch blade, enables server configurations to be eight times as dense as typical 1U systems, a welcome feature for bioinformatics server rooms bursting at the seams. Up to 24 individual servers can be deployed in a 3U rack cabinet with up to ten times the power efficiency and six times lower operational costs than 1U systems, according to the company.

RLX released its Blast Cluster Solution, a pre-configured server blade cluster that used Platform’s Clusterware to improve Blast processing, in March.

Last week, the company released Control Tower 3, a software suite for the server blade platform, which includes a plug-in for the Blast solution that Schmitz said can be used to better manage the cluster. The company is currently considering adapting other popular bioinformatics algorithms for the platform.

The RLX Blast Cluster Solution is $2,235 per server blade and comes with Platform Clusterware and Blast preinstalled on a 20 GB RLX ServerBlade hard drive with 512 MB of memory.


Spotfire Completes Informatica Bridge

Spotfire of Somerville, Mass., has completed the integration of its DecisionSite analytic applications with Informatica’s PowerCenter data integration platform.

The bridge between the two products will allow Spotfire customers to access new sources of data via data marts and data warehouses created with PowerCenter and will give Informatica users Spotfire’s visualization front end.

David Butler, VP of product strategy and marketing at Spotfire, said the relationship should help broaden the customer base of both companies: Informatica currently holds a strong position in the manufacturing and CRM sectors, but hasn’t penetrated the life sciences market. Conversely, Butler said, Spotfire is looking to broaden its own customer base beyond life sciences.


IBM Signs Deals with ISB, 4SC, Molecular Mining

Last week was a busy one for IBM. The company inked deals with the Institute for Systems Biology, Molecular Mining, and biotech firm 4SC.

The Seattle-based ISB selected IBM to provide its infrastructure technology, and said it plans to replace its current systems with IBM servers, storage, and data integration products, including a 64-node eServer xSeries 1300 cluster, with two microprocessors per node, and IBM’s DiscoveryLink software. A 4 TB storage area network will also be installed at the ISB.

IBM and ISB also said they plan to “explore research collaborations in systems biology.”

In another agreement, IBM will partner with Molecular Mining to combine DiscoveryLink with the company’s GeneLinker Gold and GeneLinker Platinum analysis and visualization tools. GeneLinker Platinum will be shipped on IBM Intellistation professional workstations, and MMC agreed to make its new products “generally available first on IBM middleware, workstations, and server platforms.”

Under the terms of the agreement, MMC will use IBM technologies for internal development, including a cluster of eServer xSeries systems running Linux and supported by IBM’s Life Sciences Framework architecture.

In addition, the companies will also explore research collaborations in areas such as visualization, pattern discovery, and gene expression analysis.

Meanwhile, Munich-based biotechnology company 4SC said it would install an IBM Linux cluster comprising 256 double-processor eServers from the xSeries 330 and one xSeries 342 to support its drug discovery efforts.


Stanford Adds Biomedical Informatics Degree to Online Offerings

Stanford University’s set of online degree programs has been supplemented with a new offering. The university was recently awarded a grant from Sloan Foundation for an online MS degree in biomedical informatics.

Russ Altman, who heads the biomedical informatics training program at Stanford, was the principal investigator on the grant. He said the course would be the first online degree in biomedical informatics from Stanford’s Medical School.

Betty Cheng, research scientist for Stanford Medical Informatics and co-director of the university’s Bioinformatics Industrial Affiliates Program, will run the program, which may begin offering courses as early as winter 2003.


GeneticXchange Renames K1, Expands Deal with Signature

GeneticXchange said it has expanded its existing partnership with Signature BioScience for use of its flagship data integration product, which has undergone a name change from K1 to “DiscoveryHub.”

Signature has renewed its license to the product and has also agreed to purchase additional licenses.

A spokeswoman for Menlo Park, Calif.-based GeneticXchange said the company opted for a new product name to differentiate it from its academic roots. The product was long available in academia as K1 before GeneticXchange began to commercialize it. “K1 was great in academic circles, but we wanted something more descriptive for the biotech and pharmaceutical areas,” said the spokeswoman.

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