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IBM expands life sciences efforts

Big Blue said on Monday that it has formed a business unit focused on so-called information-based medicine, which uses information technology to help doctors provide more personalized healthcare. IBM also said it has merged its efforts in the fields of life sciences and health care into a single division.

Life sciences, which includes drug research based on genetic data, is one of the fastest-growing industry sectors at IBM, as well as a promising field for the IT industry in general. Big Blue's new information-based medicine unit will target potential customers such as academic medical research centers, said Mike Svinte, IBM's vice president of information-based medicine. He estimated that the overall market for IT spending in the sector will jump from slightly more than $4.5 billion in 2003 to about $8 billion by 2006.