IBM Invests in Structural Bioinformatics, a Leading Life Sciences Company

Deal Will Accelerate Drug Discovery Through Faster Modeling of Proteins

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ARMONK, N.Y - 29 Nov 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.

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.

As SBI's strategic information technology (IT) partner, IBM will provide hardware and software, including a high-performance cluster of eServer* xSeries* servers running Linux**. 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.

IBM's DB2* Universal Database will become SBI's strategic development platform. IBM WebSphere* will provide the Internet software infrastructure for accessing protein structures on the Web. Additionally, SBI will begin marketing its Variome*** 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.

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