IBM and Proteome Systems In Strategic Alliance to Advance Protein Research and Drug Discovery

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ARMONK, N.Y., & SYDNEY - 20 Nov 2001: IBM and Proteome Systems Ltd., a pioneer in proteomics technologies that help researchers identify and analyze proteins, today announced a global strategic alliance that paves the way for more advanced scientific studies into proteins' role in preventing, causing and treating diseases.

Through the agreement, IBM will provide the information technology (IT) backbone for Proteome Systems' commercial offerings, including its platform for proteome analysis, ProteomIQ*. This new discovery platform offers a comprehensive suite of software, instruments and technologies for integrating, analyzing, and managing a full range of protein data, including images and biological samples.

The two companies will collaborate on research initiatives, as well as marketing programs designed to drive sales and deployment of solutions to research institutions, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. Further, IBM will supply hardware and software, and services, as needed, for Proteome Systems' in-house research programs and databases that address and examine proteins involved in cancer, infectious diseases and age-related illnesses.

Proteome Systems can also tap into a wide range of sales, education, training, and technical support programs available through IBM's PartnerWorld for Developers Program -- a worldwide program designed to help software developers reach broader markets faster and lower their costs of doing business.

"We chose IBM as our technology partner because we believe IBM is the only IT company that has a real understanding of the challenges presented by proteomics," said Dr. Keith Williams, CEO of Proteome Systems. "The information generated in proteomics is massive and complex, and requires a highly integrated IT solution to make sense of this data and convert it into knowledge. IBM has an unbeatable track record in managing complexity and providing systems that can scale to any sized problem."

Next-Generation Technologies
Proteome Systems' new in-house IT infrastructure will include the world's most powerful server, the new IBM eServer** p690 (code named "Regatta), which is based on IBM's next-generation POWER4 microprocessor, a system on a chip containing two one-gigahertz-plus processors. The p690 system also features self-healing technologies that can help provide uninterrupted operation, even through major power outages and system failures.

A combination of IBM's DB2** Universal Database, Enterprise Storage Server** (code named "Shark") disk storage system, and Tivoli Storage Manager** software will provide a high-performance solution for storing, managing, accessing and protecting and retrieving proteomic data. The system will be augmented by IBM's DiscoveryLink** data integration technology, which will allow researchers to easily integrate proteomic data, including amino-acid sequences, from a variety of sources, formats and file types into a 'virtual database'.

"Proteomic research is transforming information technology and setting new requirements for computational horsepower and data and storage management capacities," said Dr. Caroline Kovac, general manager, IBM Life Sciences. "This alliance combines IBM's leadership in software and servers with Proteome Systems' leadership in proteome analysis and bioinformatics, resulting in a rock-solid technology foundation that will meet global customers' needs now and in the future."

Proteins, the key to discovering new drug targets
Proteins regulate chemical reactions in the body and the activities of cells, tissues, and organs. Each cell contains an identical set of genes, which defines the amino acid sequences that produce various proteins. It is estimated that there are as many as one hundred thousand proteins and a million protein variations in the human body -- compared to only 30,000 genes.

Understanding the composition, or proteome, of a cell, tissue, organ or organism is the key to understanding why or how a cell becomes diseased and identifying effective drug targets. This research requires high-throughput systems, such as separation devices, robotics, mass spectrometers and other techniques for identifying and characterizing proteins and simulating the behavior of diseases.

ProteomIQ, a leading high-throughput, integrated proteomics platform, includes a range of instruments, tools and bioinformatics technologies to study proteomes. BioinformatIQ*, a proteomics information management system, which incorporates IBM's DB2 Universal Database and eServer pSeries systems, is a key component of ProteomIQ. This web-based system helps to integrate and manage the information at each step in proteomic discovery. ProteomIQ, including BioinformatIQ, will be generally available in the first quarter of 2002.

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