December 22, 2003 2:55 PM PST

IBM thinks Fast for bioscience searches

IBM and a Norwegian company are teaming up to work on search products geared to the life sciences industry, a market that is becoming more and more lucrative for technology developers.

Oslo-based Fast Search & Transfer said on Monday that the two companies will look to integrate Fast's data search technology with Big Blue's products for bioscience customers in Europe and North America. The combined technology aims to help life sciences professionals track down information more quickly by providing a single point of access to massive amounts of data in internal systems and in external databases, in a disparate range of storage formats.

"We expect this partnership to help improve the discovery process for those in the life sciences sector who require real-time access to scientific information that is highly relevant to their research needs," Martin Stoddart, a senior marketing manager in IBM's Life Science Discovery Solutions unit, said in a statement.

The life sciences industry, which includes pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, is seen as a fertile field for technology vendors, as spending in the niche is stimulated by a growth in research archives and a push to discover new drugs quickly and efficiently.

IBM formed its life sciences business unit in August 2000, shortly after the draft mapping of the human genome was announced. The division, based in Somers, N.Y., has grown to tally more than 1,000 employees. IBM makes technology called "DiscoveryLink," which sifts through a range of life sciences databases and provides search results in a consistent format. An IBM representative said DiscoveryLink and the Fast search technology involved in the partnership are complementary.

Big Blue's competitors for bioscience customers include software giant Oracle, storage specialist EMC and computer maker Hewlett-Packard.

Fast makes real-time search and filter technology. Earlier this year, commercial search company Overture bought Web search assets from Fast.

 

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