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IBM to inject $100 million into biotech boom

The company will invest the money during the next three years to develop products to help scientists research mass quantities of data related to the behavior of genes and proteins.

IBM said today that it will invest $100 million to develop products to help scientists research mass quantities of data related to the behavior of genes and proteins.

As part of its investment during the next three years, the company is also launching a new unit dedicated to the life sciences industry.

The money is reserved for the development of products and services aimed at analyzing and managing research conducted by companies trying to interpret the human genetic code.

IBM said its products will help companies understand how genes and proteins behave so they can research the diagnoses of diseases and develop new drugs to treat them.

The computing giant isn't alone in its efforts to bring in revenues from the life sciences market. Other companies, including Hewlett-Packard and Sun Microsystems, have also made investments to tap the industry.

Last December, IBM invested another $100 million in the sciences when it unveiled the Blue Gene initiative. As part of this initiative, IBM is building a supercomputer that can help researchers understand how proteins are created. This, in turn, could lead to a better understanding of how to cure diseases.

As part of the new investment, Big Blue has created a new life sciences business unit to sell computer products and services geared toward the biotechnology, genomic, health, pharmaceutical and agriculture-science industries.

The new unit will combine IBM's efforts in areas such as e-business, supercomputing, data and storage management, and data mining. IBM said it's beefing up its teams in development, marketing and sales.

As of Sept. 1, newly appointed IBM vice chairman John Thompson will be responsible for integrating and accelerating the company's efforts in life sciences and other emerging markets.