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By Morris R. Levitt 
President and CEO

Morris R. Levitt, Ph.D. I wonder if anyone back in the 1950s foresaw that the developments flowing from the elucidation of the double helix structure of DNA and the invention of the transistor would ultimately converge as they have so dramatically in the past decade. In a way, however, the convergence of life science and computer technology was preordained once it was known that genetic information and related biological processes are digitally encoded in the sequence of paired bases comprising the genome of any organism.

Certainly the field called "computational biology" in the 1980s and early '90s reflected the connection between bioscience and information technology (IT). With the advent of more advanced forms of bioinformatics, and its recent spectacular successes culminating with the sequencing of the human genome, we are now well into the era of explicit convergence of the disciplines of information technology and life sciences.

But the convergence of IT and life sciences has created a new set of challenges and needs. The principal issues include: the need for further advances in basic bioscience; collaboration and communication across IT and biosciences; data standardization; technology selection; organizational development and management; and the evolution of successful business models.

The primary mission of Bio·IT World is to make our own modest contribution to enhancing the productivity of life science research, development, and applications and the business success of our constituencies in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries. We aim to do that through the unique focus of Bio·IT World's content on the interrelationship of bioscience and IT, as well as through other specialized publications, conferences, and Web-based information that we will provide to the Bio-IT community.

We are strongly motivated by the knowledge that the stakes are high but the best is yet to come. The life sciences market for IT infrastructure products and services (including bioinformatics) is already at an annualized level of $10 billion and is projected by our sister company, International Data Corporation, to grow to $30 billion by 2005. Choosing the most effective IT tools from the growing flood of options is a daunting challenge that can make the difference between success and failure for life science companies.

On the research front, hundreds of genes associated with specific disorders have already been identified, but we have a long way to go in unraveling protein-protein interactions and developing the scientific and practical basis for individualized medical treatments. We also have a long way to go in increasing the efficiency of the drug discovery and development process, which is largely driven by advances in IT systems and their improved applications in bioscience and biotechnology.

We can only imagine what will emerge from the next 50 years of IT and life science developments, and the opportunities that will be created by you, our readers. Bio·IT World is proud to join the scientific and business communities creating that exciting future.* 

For reprints and/or copyright permission, please contact Angela Parsons, 781.972.5467.