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By Jacques-Bernard Taste

March 10, 2003 | GENEVA For more than 10 years, Hewlett-Packard Co. has been involved in bioinformatics, drawing on the experience it acquired from Digital and Compaq Computer. HP is on target for a sales growth of 20 percent to 30 percent in Europe, according to Dominique Gillot, HP’s High Performance Technical Computing Life Science Business Manager/Europe.

Q: How does HP view the current bioinformatics market?

A: A recent IDC study indicated that the world market for bioinformatics in the life sciences sector was $15 billion in 2002 and that this figure would rise to approximately $35 billion in three to four years. HP’s share of the world market is approximately 34 percent; in Europe, which represents 50 percent of the world market, it is about the same. The breakdown of the market is 30 percent in hardware, 40 percent in storage, and 30 percent in the software and services, and we believe that our overall growth in these sectors will be about 22 percent to 33 percent in Europe.

Q: How does the European market compare with that in the United States?

A: In terms of technological, financial, and scientific factors, they correlate very well. With regard to public institutions, Europe displays an overall lag in the uptake of bio-IT compared to its U.S. counterparts. However, when you look at individual countries, France, Germany, and Great Britain are leading in their implementation of these new technologies

U.S. biotech start-ups have been [the impetus] in the development [of European companies]. But today the [low level] of investment on both sides of the Atlantic is the same. Big pharma are all employing bio-IT extensively. Lastly, and this is largely a European phenomenon, there has been a true explosion of software development companies targeting the life sciences, such as Gene-IT in France.

Q: Which are the most active markets for HP Europe? 

A: Without doubt, high-performance computing, data storage, and data mining. In Europe, all these segments are exploding. Our main clients are the AstraZeneca [Pharmaceuticals LP], Genoscope in France, GeneProt [Inc.] in Switzerland, Aventis, and Nestlé [S.A.].

Q: What are the most active sectors in Europe?

A: Like the United States, proteomics and genomics are the most active. Large European pharmaceutical companies have realized that these technologies are critical to reducing the drug development time lines. There is also a great capacity of expansion in the services. Of course, we’re going through a crisis in bio-IT investment, but we don’t feel it that much. There is compensation between the lack of investment coming from certain [smaller] biotech companies and an increasing flow of money coming from merging companies.


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