Fwd: ADVANCE/Paracel Announces the World's Fastest Computer for Drug Discovery

Sat, 13 Sep 1997 17:59:56 -0400 (EDT)

Forwarded message:
Subj: ADVANCE/Paracel Announces the World's Fastest Computer for Drug
Date: 97-09-13 10:18:15 EDT
From: AOL News


GeneMatcher provides critical missing link for genomic research
Paracel Inc. today announced a new class of scientific computing
for drug discovery that accelerates the analysis of genes that cause
disease by as much as 1,000 times over traditional computing
The GeneMatcher computer system will be introduced at the Ninth
Genome Sequencing and Analysis Conference, Hilton Head, S.C., Sept.
GeneMatcher is the first computer designed with custom
Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) technology to
specifically analyze genetic information. GeneMatcher precisely
analyzes similarities and differences of DNA or protein sequences in
relation to other sequences of known genetic location and function.
These comparisons provide researchers with critical insight towards
identification of genomic drug targets and potential therapies.
"With global genomic databases doubling in size every 10 months,
high-throughput data analysis is a critical missing link for
biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies involved in drug
discovery," said Kwang-I Yu, Ph.D., CEO of Paracel. "Researchers no
longer have to settle for less than optimal methods when searching
for new pharmaceutical products."
Paracel's existing customers see a large role for the GeneMatcher
technology in their bioinformatics departments.
"Genomic research laboratories are moving from a craftsman to a
factory model, and this requires new high-throughput computational
tools," said R. Mark Adams, Ph.D., director of bioinformatics at
AlphaGene Inc., a functional genomics company in Woburn, Mass., and a
Paracel customer.
"Currently we have to perform extensive planning to work around
computing bottlenecks. The GeneMatcher system will allow AlphaGene
to perform `what if' bioinformatics without waiting," Adams said.
"We perceive that GeneMatcher will offer us a competitive
`time-to-market' advantage in delivering drug targets to our
pharmaceutical partners."
Tim Hunkapiller, Ph.D., assistant professor of molecular
biotechnology at the University of Washington, was one of the first
scientists to recognize the need for powerful computers in biology
during the late 1980s while at Caltech in Pasadena.
"GeneMatcher has arrived at a time when the requirement for
high-throughput sequence analysis has never been greater,"
Hunkapiller said. "GeneMatcher is essential if genomic research is
to continue at an ever-increasing pace."
Spanning a significant, two-year engineering effort, Paracel will
begin production shipments of GeneMatcher the first quarter of 1998.
"The GeneMatcher chip, with a complexity of over 2.2 million
transistors, is the first custom ASIC commercially deployed for
genomic data analysis," said Richard J. Diephuis, Ph.D., vice
president of engineering at Paracel.
"By combining 6,912 GeneMatcher processors into a single deskside
package, we will provide researchers the ability to analyze genomic
information at speeds never before possible." (Editor's note: a
transistor is a measure of silicon chip density. By comparison, a
general purpose computing Pentium chip by Intel has 3.3 million
The GeneMatcher system is a plug-and-play computation server that
can be connected to any network. It is delivered with BioView Tool
Kit, a suite of software tools from Paracel, providing both a
Web-based or UNIX command line interface. This allows the product to
be easily used and integrated into any bioinformatics environment.
The GeneMatcher chip is designed to specifically analyze genetic
information. The custom ASIC approach allows for performance that
has not been achieved by others using off-the-shelf Field
Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA) programmed to perform sequence
analysis functions. Combined with Paracel's existing Fast Data
Finder (FDF) technology for text analysis, the GeneMatcher system
architecture includes capability for sequence annotation searching.
Paracel, founded in 1992, provides high performance text and
genomic data analysis systems for pharmaceutical, biotechnology and
government markets. Paracel is a privately held company located in
Pasadena, Calif. Additional background information on Paracel is
available on the Internet at www.paracel.com .
NOTE TO EDITORS: Fast Data Finder and FDF are registered trademarks
of TRW Inc. licensed exclusively to Paracel Inc.
(End of advance for release 7 a.m. PT on Sept. 13)

--30--RJ/la RPL/la
Paracel Inc.
Linda Heidtke, 818/666-6688 ext. 674
800/724-3624 pin 1676207 pager
Lorraine Ruff, 206/444-0041
888/210-6277 pager

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