IBM Invests in Structural Bioinformatics for Faster Drug Discovery

IBM has made its first equity investment in a life sciences company, Structural Bioinformatics, Inc. (SBI). The two companies will collaborate to make SBI's extensive databases of protein structural information more readily accessible via the Internet on a subscription basis. IBM will provide hardware and software, including a high-performance cluster of eServer(1) xSeries(1) servers running Linux(2), and IBM WebSphere(1) will provide the Internet software infrastructure for accessing protein structures on the Web. 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. The average cost of developing a new drug today is $500 million, and the development cycle can take up to 15 years. 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.