Bioinformatics on the Brink
Email: Kate Fodor - firstname.lastname@example.org
The Scientist 2004, 18(24):34
Published 20 December 2004
When a working map of the human genome was announced in June 2000, it was immediately clear that it would open new avenues of study and transform the life sciences, both in academia and in industry. One of the many new opportunities was in bioinformatics: the use of computers to rapidly scan databases, analyze sequence data, and help predict protein structure based on DNA sequence. Companies and universities would be eager to purchase bioinformatics tools to help them manage the massive amounts of genomics and proteomics data they would be generating.
That has, indeed, turned out to be true. But for a number of reasons, the market opportunity for bioinformatics tools hasn't been as expansive as was thought, and many companies have suffered as a result.....
Despite the struggles that bioinformatics companies are experiencing, heavyweight, diversified IT companies such as IBM and Sun Microsystems show no signs of shying away from partnerships with the smaller companies or giving up on the bioinformatics market. "All the large IT vendors are getting very involved in life science," Zimmerman says. The big companies don't actually develop bioinformatics software, but they see opportunity in partnering with the software developers by providing hardware, service, and support for bioinformatics tools, and selling the complete package to firms involved in drug discovery.