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IBM (NYSE: IBM), the University of Utah Health Sciences Center and LineaGen Research Corporation has announced a broad collaboration to combine their respective strengths to create an unparalleled clinical genomics infrastructure designed to accelerate the molecular understanding of complex diseases and ultimately to accelerate the development of novel molecular diagnostics and targeted treatments. Under the collaboration, IBM will leverage its Clinical Genomics Solution to develop the information infrastructure to both integrate and query the large Utah Population Database and Utah Genetic Reference Project Database located at the University of Utah Health Sciences Center. LineaGen, a commercial access provider to the databases, will provide general oversight and administration of the project for the University.

"We are within reach of a health care system where medications are safer and more effective because they are chosen based on a patient's personal characteristics," said HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt. "This broad collaboration will accelerate medical discovery through genetic research and help make personalized therapies a reality."

The first phase of the collaboration will focus on applying IBM's Healthcare and Life Sciences Clinical Genomics Solution to build the data infrastructure and interface for the over seven million records from the combined Utah databases. These include population and demographic information with detailed medical records; including diagnosis, pharmacy records, imaging, and pathology.

"Globally, healthcare is undergoing a profound transformation toward targeted therapeutics and treatment regimens," stated Michael Svinte, vice president, Information-based Medicine, IBM. "The breath and depth of the University of Utah's assets of clinically relevant information provide an unprecedented opportunity to understand the commonalities of complex diseases. Working with partners such as LineaGen and the University of Utah, IBM is deeply committed to providing the information technology solutions that will play a critical and transformative role in realizing personalized medicine."

Future phases of the collaboration will center on the development of analytical tools to support molecular models of genetic disease to identify the commonalities of complex genetic disorders. The systems developed under this collaboration will ultimately serve as the foundation for enabling personalized medical care for the University's many clinicians and patients, and become a valuable tool for the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries in the development of novel diagnostics and therapeutics.

"This collaboration is designed to provide the drug discovery industry and clinicians with access to breakthrough understandings in cancer, heart disease, neurological disorders, autoimmune and inflammatory disease, metabolic disorders, and age-related disorders," stated Stephen M. Prescott, MD, CEO and president of LineaGen and executive director of Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah. "Our integrative population, clinical and familial databases, supported by IBM's team and technologies, promise to be an essential global resource for identifying and mapping genes for new drugs and biomarkers, and may advance not only computing in the clinical genomics arena, but in the health care industry as well.

About LineaGen

LineaGen Research Corporation is a biotechnology research and licensing company that utilizes a powerful population genetics discovery platform to identify and validate biomarkers, coordinate clinical trials, and identify health-promoting and disease-causing genetic factors. LineaGen provides industry partners with breakthrough genetic research programs that leverage an extensive biosample repository coupled with detailed clinical data and decades of medical and genetic information from both population-based studies and studies on multigenerational families. LineaGen's key asset is its ability to provide commercial access to research using the Utah Population Database and Utah Genetic Reference Project.

Headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, LineaGen draws on a proven process for genetic discovery at the University of Utah that has led to the discovery of multiple disease-causing genes in cancer, heart disease, and neurological disorders. This history of success has been expanded to disease areas including autoimmune and inflammatory disorders, respiratory disease, metabolic disorders, central nervous system disorders, and age-related conditions.

For more information, call 801/581-5004.

About the University of Utah Health Sciences Center:

The University of Utah Health Sciences Center is the major patient care, research, and health professions training center for the Intermountain West. The health sciences campus is home more than 1,100 faculty members from the University's School of Medicine, colleges of Nursing, Pharmacy and Health, and the Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library. Clinical care is provided by University of Utah Hospitals & Clinics, the Huntsman Cancer Institute and Hospital, the John A. Moran Eye Center, and the University Neuropsychiatry Institute.

For more information, call 801/587-7639.

About Utah Population Database

The Utah Population Database is an unmatched integration of vital statistics, clinical records, and genealogical information. Currently, the Utah Population Database comprises more than 7 million linked records, including genealogical records, population records, and vital statistics that are linked to medical information.

About Utah Genetic Reference Project

The Utah Genetic Reference Project is an extensive collection of genotypic and phenotypic characteristics collected from more than 600 individuals representing approximately 45 Utah families. These large multigenerational families donated their DNA to the Centre d'Etude du Polymorphisme Humain (CEPH) approximately twenty years ago, and since then their DNA has been a critical resource in the mapping studies that identified genes for a number of genetic diseases and disorders.

About IBM Healthcare and Life Sciences

IBM Healthcare and Life Sciences brings together IBM resources, including information technology, deep industry insights, and research expertise, to help clients develop and deliver safer, more affordable and more effective diagnostics, drugs and medical care.

About IBM's Healthcare and Life Sciences Clinical Genomics Solution

The convergence of life sciences, healthcare, and information technology is revolutionizing the discovery of new treatments and the practice of medicine. The IBM Healthcare and Life Sciences Clinical Genomics Solution incorporates IBM technology, industry expertise, and best practices, and along with applications available from the network of IBM Business Partners not only to help accelerate the adoption of genomics in the clinical environment but also to help facilitate compliance with regulatory and patient privacy requirements and enable the sharing of research data in a security enhanced environment. The solution promotes flexibility, based on open-industry standards, so that the program can grow and adapt.

For more information, call 646/234-1617.
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Publication:Online Product News
Date:Aug 1, 2005

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