November 29, 2000

IBM InveIBM invests in Bioinformatics, incuding Linux servers

Author: JT Smith

ARMONK, N.Y.--(BW HealthWire)--Nov. 29, 2000--IBM announced today that
it
has made its first equity investment in a life sciences company. IBM is
investing in Structural Bioinformatics, Inc. (SBI), whose advanced
three-dimensional protein models make it possible for pharmaceutical
researchers to design and develop disease-fighting drugs faster and at
lower cost. As SBI's strategic information technology (IT) partner, IBM will
provide
hardware and software, including a high-performance cluster of
eServer(1)
xSeries(1) servers running Linux(2). The new Linux-based system will
enhance SBI's ability to perform high-resolution protein modeling,
including dynamics calculations that track the changing shapes of
protein
molecules and shed light on the role of individual chemical structures
in
human disease.

The two companies will collaborate to make the content of SBI's
extensive
databases of protein structural information more readily accessible to
researchers worldwide via the Internet on a subscription basis. Joint
marketing efforts are also planned, and SBI will be able to draw on
IBM's
extensive research expertise in computational biology.

"The average cost of developing a new drug today is $500 million, and
the
development cycle can take up to 15 years," said Dr. Caroline Kovac,
vice
president of IBM Life Sciences. "SBI's high-quality protein structures
and
computational analyses can significantly speed up the cycle and help
get
new treatments for many of today's diseases to patients faster."

Protein Structures Hold Key to Curing Diseases
The successful mapping of the human genome has accelerated the study of
proteins and protein-protein interactions, or proteomics, by enabling
rapid
conversion of gene sequence data into protein structures. The more than
one
million proteins in the human body regulate the structure and function
of
cells, tissues and organs. They also play a key role in triggering and
de-activating genetically-linked diseases such as cancer, AIDS,
Alzheimers,
and diabetes.

SBI, which maintains some of the world's largest proprietary databases
of
atomic-resolution 3-D protein structures, provides proteomic
information to
pharmaceutical researchers for use in designing molecules that interact
with proteins associated with diseases. Access to this information
facilitates the development of powerful drugs that bind to proteins,
either
activating or blocking their activities.

SBI's products are among the first ``in silico'' approaches to drug
discovery, allowing researchers to analyze protein models and predict
interactions between proteins and chemicals using information
technology,
rather than performing time-consuming and costly laboratory
experiments.

IBM's DB2(1) Universal Database will become SBI's strategic development
platform. IBM WebSphere(1) will provide the Internet software
infrastructure for accessing protein structures on the Web.
Additionally,
SBI will begin marketing its Variome(3) structural variant database
modules
to pharmaceutical companies in early 2001 with DB2 as the preferred
database.

"We selected IBM for our IT needs because of its complementary
technologies and expertise in managing volume and complexity - both
characteristics of proteomic data," said Dr. Edward T. Maggio,
chairman,
president and chief executive officer of SBI. "Our partnership with
IBM
will allow us to expand the content of our protein databases, while
providing our customers with more comprehensive tools for analysis of
proteins."

The minority equity investment in SBI is the latest initiative by IBM's
Life Sciences business unit, which was formed in August to form
partnerships and develop IT solutions for biotechnology, genomic,
pharmaceutical, e-health, and other life sciences industries.

About Structural Bioinformatics, Inc.
Structural Bioinformatics is a world leader in computational proteomics
--
the large-scale generation and use of protein structure and protein
structural information. The company has developed advanced technologies
to
generate highly refined three-dimensional structural models of proteins
from primary genetic information and commercializes these technologies
through its structural database products and through drug discovery
collaborations with leading pharmaceutical companies. SBI has offices
and
research facilities in San Diego, CA; Cambridge, MA; and Horsholm,
Denmark.
More information about SBI can be found through the website,
www.strubix.com.

About IBM Life Sciences
IBM's Life Sciences business unit brings together the company's
high-performance computing, e-business and data and storage management
resources, and research expertise to offer new solutions for the
fast-growing life sciences market. IBM is the world's largest
information
technology company, with 80 years of leadership in helping businesses
innovate. The fastest way to get more information about IBM Life
Sciences
is through the website,
www-4.ibm.com/software/webservers/lifesciences/.

(1) Indicates trademark or registered trademark of IBM Corporation. (2)
Indicates trademark or registered trademark of Linus Torvalds. (3)
Indicates trademark or registered trademark of respective companies.

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