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Science and Technology Leaders Launch blueprint WORLDWIDE INC., Giving Researchers Unprecedented Access to Vital Biomolecular Interaction Data

New Company Founded by IBM and MDS Proteomics Will Help Accelerate Drug Discovery with the World's Most Comprehensive Collection of BioMolecular Data

OTTAWA - 30 May 2001: A new, not-for-profit organization, blueprint WORLDWIDE INC. was announced today, along with the unveiling of the world's first public Biomolecular Interaction Network Database (BIND). Founded by IBM and MDS Proteomics, blueprint will administer the BIND database, a comprehensive source of protein interactions that trigger chemical reactions in the body causing healthy or diseased cells. The BIND database, accessible at www.blueprint.org, enables researchers to easily find the quality data required to speed the development of new medicines -- benefiting consumers, increasing patient well-being and creating tremendous value for research-based companies.

With support from a consortium of leading international health organizations, blueprint is poised to become the definitive source of biomolecular interaction data. Supporters include the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI); the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI); the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute (SLRI); the Canadian Genetic Diseases Network (CGDN); the National Research Council (NRC); and the Institute of Genetics, Institute of Cancer Research and Institute of Neurosciences, which are all part of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) family.

The mapping of the human genome was a watershed in scientific research, opening the door to profound scientific discoveries. Now, researchers understand the need to take DNA sequencing to the next level, proteomics, to provide a comprehensive understanding of the causes of diseases and identify specific targets for treatment.

blueprint's BIND database builds upon other public biological databases such as NCBI's GenBank, generating a "living" database of all bioinformatics and biomedical data. It is designed to help the global scientific community move toward a complete description of how molecules interact and control cellular life. The BIND database initiative was spearheaded by three of the world's leading scientists in the areas of bioinformatics and cell signaling: Dr. Tony Pawson and Dr. Christopher Hogue, both researchers at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, and blueprint's Managing Director (Designate) Francis Ouellette, who spent five years working on GenBank and who is currently the director for CMMT's Bioinformatics Core Facility, Children's and Women's Health Centre of British Columbia, UBC.

"The study of biomolecular data is essential to developing better medicines to treat diseases. The management of this data is of critical importance. blueprint will play a key role in supporting researchers worldwide by providing a centralized collection for growing volumes of scientific data on proteins, RNA and DNA interaction data," said Ouellette. "While GenBank provides researchers with the crucial list of parts (with some annotations), blueprint provides the assembly diagram -- a 'blueprint' of how all of the parts fit together. Using blueprint's BIND database, researchers will have easier access to critical biomolecular data in one place, fostering accelerated discoveries worldwide.""

As a not-for-profit entity, blueprint currently is governed by a board consisting of, Frank Gleeson, chief executive officer and president, MDS Proteomics; Dr. Tony Pawson, senior scientist, Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute; and Dr. Caroline Kovac, vice president, IBM Life Sciences. Moving forward, blueprint will be run by a Board of Directors representing the organization's four member classes - the scientific community, a nongovernmental sponsor, a commercial sponsor and a chair elected by the board.

"Today, it takes up to 15 years and approximately $750 million Canadian to develop each drug, taking it from discovery to market," said Gleeson. "We look forward to expediting this process. blueprint will enable MDS Proteomics and other researchers around the world to develop new treatments for disease more rapidly and cost-effectively."

The BIND database uses IBM technology as its infrastructure for processing, storing and managing biomolecular data. The configuration includes a cluster of powerful IBM eServer* systems running UNIX and IBM's DB2* Universal Database, Shark* disk storage system and Tivoli systems management software.

"With a potential for a million or more proteins in the human body, we're looking at an enormous increase in the amount of data and the computational complexity, compared to genomics," said Kovac. 'The IBM technology behind the BIND database is designed for computing performance of this magnitude and will scale to meet future needs."

In addition to cash and in-kind contributions from IBM and MDS Proteomics, blueprint also received funding from the Canadian Genetic Diseases Network (CGDN) and the Institute of Genetics, Institute of Cancer Research and Institute of Neurosciences, which are all part of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) family. In the future, blueprint will seek funding from governmental, nongovernmental and commercial organizations.

Contact(s) information

Theo Chisholm
IBM Corporation
(914) 766-1180
theoc@us.ibm.com

Acacia Neal-Haynes
FitzGerald Communications
for blueprint WORLDWIDE INC.
anealhaynes@fitzgerald.com

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