Google's new cloud attracts biotech researchers

Eager to expand its computing power in a jiffy, the biotech Numerate has integrated its drug discovery technology with Google's ($GOOG) new cloud-computing platform. The San Bruno, CA-based company says it is one of just several partners using the Google Compute Engine, which the Internet giant announced last week would be available in a limited release.

Numerate, which collaborates with Merck ($MRK) and others with its computer-based drug design platform, isn't the only group from the biotech realm hooked into Google's cloud. Seattle's Institute for Systems Biology has tapped the cloud platform to tackle research involving big data, which includes huge amounts of biological data that can easily overwhelm computer storage and processors.

"Rapid provisioning is critical for us as we elastically scale to thousands of cores in response to our partners' needs," Brandon Allgood, Numerate's director of computational sciences, said in a statement. "Google Compute Engine excels in this regard. In fact, with a small amount of effort, we adapted our platform to Google Compute Engine and have already scaled to more than 10,000 cores."

As Forbes reports, Google's cloud-computing platform faces lots of competition from Amazon ($AMZN), which offers the similar Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), and a bevy of other players in the hosting business. Pharma has slowly adopted public clouds such as those offered by Amazon, which found an early cloud-computing customer in drug giant Eli Lilly ($LLY). With public clouds, companies can pay only for the computing infrastructure that they use. It lets them rent rather than own, so to speak.

- here's Numerate's release
- see Forbes' article

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