IBM helps Proteome commercially deploy platform for proteome analysis

Armonk 20 November 2001IBM and Proteome Systems Ltd., a Sydney-based pioneer in proteomics technologies which help researchers identify and analyse proteins, have closed a global strategic alliance paving 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, analysing, and managing a full range of protein data, including images and biological samples.

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The two companies will collaborate on research initiatives, as well as marketing programmes 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 programmes and databases which 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 programmes available through IBM's PartnerWorld for Developers Programme, a worldwide programme designed to help software developers reach broader markets faster and lower their costs of doing business. 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 disk storage system, code-named "Shark", 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".

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 which 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 characterising proteins and simulating the behaviour of diseases.

ProteomIQ, a leading high-throughput, integrated proteomics platform, includes a range of instruments, tools and bio-informatics 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. More life sciences news from IBM is available in this VMW issue's article North Carolina MCNC Corporation and IBM build Bioinformatics Grid to support drug discovery.


Leslie Versweyveld

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