HP and TCAG collaborate to advance medical and environmental genomic discovery in life science

Boston 31 March 2004HP and The Center for the Advancement of Genomics (TCAG), a policy and research centre affiliated with the J. Craig Venter Science Foundation based in Rockville, Maryland, have established a formal research and development collaboration to further the goals of advancing medical and environmental genomic discovery in the life sciences. Serving as a real-world test and development environment for tools, systems, and technologies developed by HP and select partners, the HP and TCAG research and development collaboration is intended to enable continuous improvement and development of solutions for the life science market.


Among the areas HP and TCAG plan to investigate is predictive medicine, which enables health care providers to use genomic data to evaluate the probability that an individual will develop serious illnesses like heart disease, cancer or mental illness, and then to offer lifestyle advice or medical treatment with the aim of preventing the predicted illness.

"HP and TCAG have each made substantial investments in technology and engineering to advance the state of the art in genomic medicine", stated Rich Zippel, director, HP Cambridge Research Lab, who leads the health care and life sciences research effort. "By combining the performance and support of HP solutions and services and HP Labs research with TCAG's scientific expertise, we plan to realize the goal of predictive medicine for individuals in the future."

"This collaboration represents an exciting opportunity to significantly advance the technology resources needed in the life sciences", stated Marshall Peterson, chief information officer, J. Craig Venter Science Foundation. "With ever increasing amounts of genomic data being generated by the research teams at the Venter Science Foundation affiliate organisations, from human genome resequencing efforts to environmental shotgun sequencing through our Sorcerer II Expedition, the need for creative and effective technology solutions continues to expand. We look forward to working with HP to enhance ways to make genomic advances relevant for researchers and the general public."

HP and TCAG will begin their collaboration focusing on the following research projects:

  • Creation of a highly optimized, scalable genome-sequencing pipeline based on software developed by TCAG and underlying HP technology;
  • Reduction of the cost of sequencing genomic and proteomic data while exponentially increasing throughput to enable the use of this data in predictive medical treatments;
  • Collaboration with other research organisations to establish standards for data and tools and cost-effective ways in which open source technologies can meet the increasing demand for computing power at affordable costs.

The technology objective of this collaboration is to design solutions that are easy to deploy, cost-effective and based on open standards. HP and TCAG will work together to optimize tools, algorithms and software applications and to develop novel solutions based on a wide range of technologies ranging from supercomputers to disk arrays to mobility devices.

HP will provide TCAG with an array of technologies and solutions to support its current infrastructure, high-performance technical computing and data storage environments. HP Labs will contribute engineering expertise and advanced research to TCAG and other Venter Science Foundation affiliates. In addition, HP Services will deliver consulting and installation services and support for benchmarking, porting and tuning software applications.

HP has built solution environments for life science research for many leading life science research organisations around the world, including The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, The Whitehead Institute Center for Genome Research, Genoscope, GeneProt and others.

These solutions integrate large-scale storage area networks and database servers with scalable compute farms and clusters. HP offers customers a broad range of supported public domain and commercial applications that are optimized for maximum performance. HP complements the system infrastructure with professional services to assist customers in designing, implementing and managing their research computing environments.

The Center for the Advancement of Genomics is a not-for-profit policy and research centre dedicated to advancing science and medicine through education and enlightenment of the general public, elected officials, and students. TCAG will seek to better understand evolutionary issues, broad social and ethical issues such as race as a social concept rather than a scientific one, and combating genetic discrimination. TCAG will also focus on the public issues associated with biology/genomics in mitigating greenhouse gas concentrations and biological energy production.

HP is a technology solutions provider to consumers, businesses and institutions globally. The company's offerings span IT infrastructure, personal computing and access devices, global services and imaging and printing. For the last four fiscal quarters, HP revenue totalled $74,7 billion.

Leslie Versweyveld

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