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Bioinformatics: Terminator for real - Views on News from Equitymaster
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  • Jan 30, 2001

    Bioinformatics: Terminator for real

    The computer married the phone, Internet was born. Now, the computer it seems is all the set to marry none other than mankind. Welcome to the world of Bioinformatics. Not that the concept is new, science fiction movies were full of half-man half-machines since long, but now the news is that its going to be business, not just plain academic research.

    To say Internet revolutionised the world would be an understatement. What Bioinformatics can do, it is hard to describe in a few words.

    Satyam recently entered into an agreement with Center For Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) to work together to identify business opportunities at the global level for IT enabled services in Bioinformatics and related fields.

    The first questions obviously are: what is Bioinformatics and what are the possibilities for business opportunities in the area?

    Last year with the mapping of the human genome, scientists broke the human genome down into a digital code of 3.1 billion chemical bases. Bioinformatics is a scientific discipline that deals with all aspects of biological information acquisition, processing, storage, distribution, analysis and interpretation.

    Now we understand biological information, more importantly genetic information, in a digital form. This can be manipulated with the processing power of computers to understand the genes, their effects and more importantly how we can suitably alter the effects to suit mankind. This calls for combining the tools and techniques of biology, chemistry, computer sciences, information technology and mathematics.

    Coming to the possibilities in business, the first application could be medicine. Deeper understanding of diseases using through Bioinformatics would help to eradicate the diseases. But after this, the possibilities are limitless right from designer babies to personalised medicine to clones. Trillions of dollars are for the taking.
    The Applications
    Database query tools.
    Sequence analysis & Molecular evolution.
    Genome mapping & comparison.
    Gene Identification.
    Structure Prediction.
    Molecular Modeling & Simulation.

    Satyam will use its IT expertise combine with the domain knowledge of CCMB. The solutions offering will be for clients interested in gene research, pharmaceutical research, drug discovery process, drug approval process, genetically engineered molecules in the healthcare and other relevant sectors. The marketable services will be in three general areas covering IT manpower services, database value added services and pharma cum database value added services.

    With Bioinformatics a whole new set of opportunities has opened up for the Indian software sector. Satyam has made the first move but others will soon follow. The journey has just begun, and before the moolah actually comes in the industry has to give concrete results. But then question is what is the industry: medicine or information technology. A mixture of both we guess.



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