The three companies, along with Switzerland's Friedli Corporate Finance, will invest $185 million in a new venture called Myriad Proteomics. The venture will market a database and related materials to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies for developing therapeutic and analytical products, Myriad said in a statement Wednesday.
Oracle is contributing database software for storing the information about the protein pathways, while Hitachi is supplying electronics and storage systems.
Myriad, based in Salt Lake City, owns 50 percent of the venture and will contribute technology worth about $82 million. Friedli, Hitachi and Oracle together will contribute $85 million in cash and $18 million in technology.
The group expects to collect the information in a database of protein interactions and biochemical pathways, as well as a catalog of purified proteins, by 2004.
The mapping of proteins and how they interact with other cells in the human body--an undertaking known as proteomics--is expected to help researchers determine the cause of diseases and find methods for prevention and treatment.
As the human genome--that is, the overall set of genetic material--is being mapped and cataloged, a number of technology companies are joining with biochemical firms to target the genetics marketplace. Computer heavyweights such as IBM and Compaq Computer have for some time provided supercomputers and services used by genetics and other labs to conduct high-speed technical computations.
Just last month, Big Blue said it was developing a services unit targeting the pharmaceutical and biotech industries, offering advice on how to use supercomputers and software to find and develop new drugs. Last year, IBM invested $200 million in ways to generate new business from human genome enterprises.
In January, Compaq said it was partnering with a nuclear research facility and biotech company to build a high-speed supercomputer for extracting information stored in databases on genetics and nuclear research.