Celera Throws Compaq Servers In Trash

When scientists at Celera Genomics and the government-funded Human Genome Project created their maps of all human genes, one indisputable winner was Compaq Computer. Both groups used Compaq supercomputers. Today, Celera announced that it would be parting with those Compaq servers in favor of new ones built by IBM and EMC.

IBM will provide Celera and its sister company, Applied Biosystems, with a supercomputing cluster capable of 2 trillion calculations per second. EMC will supply automated data storage for the system. The financial value of the contract was not revealed, and Celera did not name the firms that bid against IBM and EMC for the deal.

The contract is an obvious victory for IBM's life sciences division, which has spent the past two years establishing itself as a force in supercomputing for drug and biotech companies. But Celera is not the jewel it once was, and its stated reasons for choosing IBM reveal the difficulty of its new mission: to use its status as a gene-sequencing powerhouse to boost itself into a bona fide manufacturer of drugs and medical diagnostics.

Making that switch will be difficult. As investors have realized just how difficult, Celera and such competitors as Incyte Genomics and Curagen have seen their stocks plummet by more than 75% in the last 12 months. Celera, with $908 million in cash and its scientific cachet, may have the best chance of transforming itself, but it has been hurt by the departure of founder Craig Venter, who has started up a new gene-sequencing shop of his own.

News source: Forbes - Celera Throws Compaq Servers In Trash

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