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TGen, ASU, and International Genomics Consortium

TGen, Arizona State University, and International Genomics Consortium Select IBM Technology for Research on Genetic Links to Diseases

Collaboration Includes Joint Research to Identify the Genetic Markers for Various Cancers

April 25, 2003

The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), Arizona State University (ASU) and the International Genomics Consortium (IGC) have selected IBM as their technology provider for genomic research to accelerate research into diseases such as cancer, diabetes, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's with hopes of developing improved treatments and finding cures.

Through the agreement, announced today at the Arizona Bio Expo, IBM and TGen will also explore joint research collaborations, such as computational analyses of how genes are expressed during various experimental conditions, including disease states.

"TGen's mission is to discover the genetic changes underlying a variety of human diseases, develop and validate diagnostic tests for these diseases, and uncover new, more effective targets and treatment approaches," said Jeffrey M. Trent, Ph.D., TGen president and scientific director. "It is critical to have a technology partner who understands and can support our research goals today and in the future. IBM has extensive life sciences experience and advanced computational biology technologies that can accelerate our research efforts."

To achieve these research goals, IBM will deploy a powerful supercomputing infrastructure to be housed at ASU that will consist of a 512-node cluster of IBM eServer xSeries 1350 servers running the Linux operating system and six IBM eServer pSeries servers for UNIX operating systems, ranging from IBM's top-of-the-line p690 high-end server to the world's most powerful midrange server, the new IBM eServer p650 system. These advanced servers feature self-healing technologies that provide continuous operation -- even through major power failures and system errors.

"ASU is providing a state of the art computational facility as part of our support for TGen and its genomics research mission," said Dr. William E. Lewis, ASU Chief Information Officer and Vice Provost. "ASU is excited about the future of TGen and its impact on the State of Arizona."

TGen will use a combination of network attached storage (NAS) and storage area network (SAN) technology, with storage solutions that include IBM's high-speed TotalStorage FAStT700 disk storage system for accessing and retrieving enormous quantities of information, the IBM TotalStorage Ultrascalable Linear Tape-Open (LTO) Tape Library, for centralized data backup, and Tivoli Storage Manager.

"TGen has laid the groundwork to become a leading institution in genomic research," said Peter Morrissey, Worldwide Solutions Executive, IBM Life Sciences. "IBM's relationship with TGen will enable both organizations to draw on complementary strengths and expertise that we can apply toward solving challenging life sciences problems. The joint research projects are aimed at directly impacting patients at the point of care."

Michael Berens, Ph.D., CEO of IGC agrees. "This early partnering opportunity with IBM will ensure that the disease-based genomics databases produced by IGC will be in as user-adaptable formats as possible. We're pleased to have such a strong informatics partner as IBM involved," said Berens.

Based on the experimental data provided by TGen and IGC, the IBM and TGen researchers are beginning the process of mapping the molecular markers of cancer using IBM's [email protected] Java-based software, a set of algorithms for analyzing highly complex life sciences data. One of the first phases of the project will have researchers analyze the cells of cancer patients who were treated and responded well, and compare them with the cells of those who did not. Using IBM Research's leadership in gene expression array analysis, the ultimate goal will be to determine the differences between genes in diseased and healthy cells.

"The hope is that patients will ultimately benefit by combining genomic research with the sophisticated computer resources and the expertise provided by the IBM Life Sciences Division," said Edward Suh, Sc.D., TGen's Chief Information Officer.

TGen was established in Phoenix in 2002 as the anchor research institute in an initiative to make the state of Arizona a center for genomic research. TGen has assembled a cadre of world-class independent investigators focused on discovering the genetic markers of disease (diagnostics), identifying and manipulating new targets for treatment of disease (therapeutics), and developing new ways to conduct research and analyze information (genetic technology and computational biology tools).

About TGen
The mission of the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is to make and translate genomic discoveries into advances in human health. "Translational research" is a relatively new field employing innovative advances, such as genome-wide array technology, and the burgeoning field of computational biology, to provide the data and tools necessary to identify the genes that play a role in hereditary susceptibility to disease. For more information about TGen, visit its Web site, http://www.tgen.org.

About IBM Life Sciences
IBM Life Sciences brings together IBM resources, from research, services and e-business expertise to data and storage management and high-performance computing, to offer new solutions for the life sciences market, including biotechnology, genomic, e-health, pharmaceutical and agri-science industries. The fastest way to get more information about IBM Life Sciences is through its Web site, http://www.ibm.com/lifesciences.

About IGC
The International Genomics Consortium (IGC) is a non-profit genomics research institute that seeks to revolutionize the treatment and prevention of cancer and complex diseases by rigorously developing and applying post-genome science to advances in human health. IGC is dedicated to the creation and public-release of clinically annotated molecular databases characterizing human disease. These databases are useful for discovery and validation of new diagnostic markers and therapeutic targets. Consortia members include medical centers, pharmaceutical companies, biotechnology and informatics entities, as well as foundations and government sponsors working in a private-public partnership. (See http://www.intgen.org)

About ASU
Arizona State University is one of the premier metropolitan public research universities in the nation. Enrolling more than 57,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students on three campuses in metropolitan Phoenix, ASU maintains a tradition of academic excellence in core disciplines, and has become an important global center for innovative interdisciplinary teaching and research. ASU offers outstanding resources for study and research, including libraries and museums with important collections, studios and performing arts spaces for creative endeavor, and unsurpassed state-of-the-art scientific and technological laboratories and research facilities.

Contact:IGC
ROBERT RIGGS
(602) 417-0682
[email protected]
ASU
Nancy Neff
Assistant Vice President
Public Affairs
480-965-4836
[email protected]
IBM
Lon J. Levitan
Manager - Southwest U.S.
Media Relations, IBM Americas
512-823-0404


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