Aventis Uses 34-Node Cluster Computer to Identify Molecules that
Activate or Inhibit Targeted Proteins.
LOS ANGELES, CA - June 18, 2003 - PSSC Labs announced today that a
34-node cluster running AMD's Athlon MP processor is successfully
accelerating pharmaceutical research for Aventis, the prescription-drug
and vaccine company, best known as the makers of Allegra. The successful
implementation of this custom Linux-based solution is evidence that the
investment in technology integration is a key factor in reducing product
cycles and bringing new and helpful drugs to the marketplace.
It is generally accepted that it takes about ten to fifteen years from
the time that research and development of a drug is started to when that
drug is brought to market. Frequently, for various reasons, the drugs
will never become commercially viable so any reduction in time spent in
development results in cost savings to the company.
"At PSSC Labs, we've recognized how critical it is for pharmaceutical
firms to reduce the time and money that they spend on research. After
building custom clusters for firms like Aventis and Concurrent
Pharmaceuticals, we understand the specific research needs of the
pharmaceutical industry and tailor our machines to meet their
requirements," said Alex Lesser, Vice President of PSSC Labs.
Anil Nair, Senior Associate Scientist at Aventis agreed, "Previously,
researchers were limited by the speed with which 'virtual screening' of
small molecule libraries was performed. With the AMD Athlon MP
processor-based cluster, I can utilize parallel processing to work
through myriad possibilities to eliminate the bad ones and find the best
choice. We can perform a 'virtual screen' on 10,000 or more small
molecules each day."
In this particular case, the PSSC Labs cluster is tasked with quickly
identifying small molecules that will either inhibit or activate a
targeted protein. Once identified, Aventis can work to alter the
functions of these proteins. Such research is vital to treating diseases
like cancer and diabetes. Sorting through the vast mathematical
possibilities of molecular research is closely tied to the performance
of the processor's floating-point engine.
"There's no question that one of the great strengths of this cluster is
its ability to crunch numbers," said Lesser "and we've found that this
is invaluable to our pharmaceutical and biotech clients in terms of
Nair is eager to build upon the current increase in productivity by
adding more nodes to his system, saying he plans to double its size --
with expectations of doubling researchers' productivity -- in the coming
"We're excited about the potential of this very powerful new tool," he
says. "It's making a substantial difference in the way we do research."
About PSSC Labs
PSSC Labs provides high performance workstations, servers and Beowulf
Supercomputing solutions to the world's most prestigious and demanding
organizations. Since 1989, these organizations have relied upon PSSC
Labs for solutions to their High Performance Computing and High Speed
Interconnect needs. Each system is custom configured to our customers'
specific requirements, be it scientific research, visualization,
real-time simulations or financial modeling. PSSC Labs' knowledge of
hardware, LINUX software, cluster management tools and unsurpassed
lifetime support ensure that PSSC Labs customers receive the best
possible solution at the most competitive price. For complete details
please call PSSC Labs at 949-380-7288 or visit http://www.pssclabs.com .
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