TCS launches the countrys first bioinformatics product
Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Council of Scientific
and Industrial Research (CSIR) have launched Bio Suite, the countrys
first comprehensive software for bioinformatics which caters to the needs of
fields such as biology, post-genomic drug discovery and other related areas.
Bio Suite was developed under the New Millennium Indian Technology Leadership
Initiative programme (NMITLI). TCS plans to market the product world-wide and
foray into the bioinformatics sector in a big way. TCSs Hyderabad development
centre has developed this product and about 40 professionals worked on the project
for two years (80 man-years of effort).
After the Bio Suite product, TCS will work on two more projects-
Bio Clusters and improved annotation of malaria under the NMITLI programme.
The first project will focus on Bio Clusters by developing a cluster-based computing
version. The current version works on a single workstation. The company is planning
to make it work in a networked environment. This project will be completed by
July 2005 at a cost of Rs 2.9 crore. The second project is genomics-based and
aims at genome annotation of the malaria-causing parasite Plasmodium Falciparum.
The timeframe for completion of the project is three years.
Unveiling the Bio Suite product, president Dr A P J Abdul Kalam called upon
TCS to build more products and make them affordable. Biosciences, IT and
nanotechnology are three technologies that have come up in a big way. Each segment
has its own advantage for the country. India needs to be self-sufficient in
medical software tools. I request major companies such as TCS to make products
accessible and help SMEs develop products to tap the global market. Competitive
pricing of these products enables students to carry out their research and development
activities successfully, Dr Kalam said.
18 academic institutions in addition to CISR have provided domain knowledge
for developing TCSs Bio Suite. We have received a loan of Rs 7.8
crore at an interest rate of 3 percent from CSIR. TCS will hold all commercial
rights of the product and CSIR will get 5 percent royalty on sales of Bio Suite.
The product is ideally suited for use by SMEs in the bioinformatics sector,
academic institutions and pharmaceutical companies. Bio Suite will meet the
requirements of computational biology, genomics, drug design, and scientific
algorithms, said S Ramadorai, CEO, TCS.
Bio Suite has eight modules on sequence analysis, genome analysis, 3D modelling,
drug design and simulations.