June 26, 2002 | Financial Express

TCS plans to tap global market with bioinformatics suite

New Delhi: In a bid to cash in on the emerging bio-informatics opportunities, India's largest software company, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), has started developing a complete bio-informatics software suite to be sold in the global market.

The company has decided to focus on developing bio-informatics as its new business vertical with a vision to position itself as a complete software solution provider in this space globally.

The cost of the software development project, which is estimated to be around 100 person years in terms of effort required, will be around Rs 7 crore. TCS has already deployed a team of around 40 people including some life scientists and software engineers.

"Bio-informatics is a fast growing area and we hope it to be a critical part of the life sciences sector in future," TCS executive vice president Dr M Vidyasagar told FE on the sidelines of a seminar on information security orgainsed by National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom) in New Delhi on Tuesday.

The development work on the software suite was kicked off in April this year and scheduled to be completed by March 2004, according to Dr Vidyasagar. The bio-informatics software development facilities has been set up by TCS in Hyderabad.

The company will share the intellectual property rights of the software suit with Council for Scientific and Industrial Reserach (CSIR), which has originally given the project to TCS to develop the software suit, said Dr Vidyasagar, adding that CSIR had plans to distribute the software suite to the academic and research institutions in India while TCS was looking at the private sector in India and abroad.

"The issue on the rights of software suite is negotiable with CSIR. In fact, in such projects, marketing rights are normally given to the software companies," said Dr Vidyasagar.

According to Mr Vidyasagar, the company is also involved in training and imparting appropriate skills to software engineers to work on bioinformatics projects.

"We have deployed people who either understand software development or life sciences and trained them accordingly," he added.

Dr Vidyasagar said that the software suite being developed by the company will cater to all bioinformatic requirements like gene sequence analysis, management of biological and genetic data, detecting protine stimulation pattern and data content services. Once in the global market, TCS will compete with companies like Accelrys Inc, a San Diego (US) based subsidiary of Pharmacopeia, which also offers similar software suite.