BT, IDBS form chemoinformatics alliance

IBM Corp. has entered an alliance with ID Business Solutions Ltd. (IDBS) to promote the U.K. company's chemical and biological data management software, it announced Tuesday.

IDBS of Guildford, England, has optimized its software to run on IBM hardware, IBM Life Sciences spokesman Jonathan Batty said.

The IDBS platform lets scientists capture, organize, integrate and analyze data from both biological and chemical research, an IBM statement said. Until now that integration of biological and chemical data has been difficult to manage, Batty said.

"Traditionally the different data sources and types have been a problem. The pharmaceutical industry depends on getting drugs to market quickly and on collaboration between (scientists) but it has been dogged by data integration issues," he said.

The IBM-optimized version of the software was driven by customer requests, Jack Elands, IDBS vice president of marketing and business services said.

"Some customers said they would be interested in bigger projects but were concerned about our size. They said if we partnered with someone like IBM then that would be good. And then Novartis (AG), one of our major customers, was having new servers supplied by IBM and they asked us to make the software work with them. So it's been very customer-driven," he said.

The platform includes ActivityBase software for integrating biological and chemical data; Discovery Channel, a Web-based data mining application and Discovery Warehouse for consolidating large volumes of data. These have been optimized for IBM eServer pSeries systems running AIX, IBM's version of the Unix operating system, with IBM DB2 database software, DiscoveryLink data integration software and WebSphere Internet infrastructure software, IBM said.

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