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SGI Powers Cancer Research at AbbVie Stemcentrx

Over at the SGI Blog, Cori Pasinetti writes that the company is helping scientists target cancer stem cells and develop treatments that attack tumors at the roots.

pub12AbbVie Stemcentrx is one of many research companies turning to HPC to overcome obstacles with large data workloads. To deal with increaseing volumes of unstructured data, the pharmaceutial giant has selected SGI UV 300 to elevate its investigation of cancer. As a leader in genomics research with a strong mission to pioneer new therapies for curing diseases, AbbVie Stemcentrx leverages their SGI UV 300 to assist with bioinformatics initiatives that require significant levels of compute power, such as analyzing large and complex datasets for cancer therapy and genetics sequencing research.

“Our new SGI UV 300 capabilities will help us achieve major milestones sooner than predicted,” said Albert Park, senior director, Bioinformatics, AbbVie Stemcentrx. “The new SGI system is able to process larger quantities of data faster than ever and provides us with ease of management. We see significant advantages of having a single OS control our systems, including ease of use, lower power consumption and increased compute power. There’s no price tag for technology that can help discover a drug that will save millions of lives.”

Technical Information

  • The new AbbVie Stemcentrx platform comprises of SGI UV 300 systems totaling 6TB of RAM, 16 sockets and 18 core CPUs
  • Featuring Intel Xeon E7-8800 v4 and Intel Xeon E7-4800 v4 processors and a NUMAlink topology with ultra-low latency, these servers provide a greater memory to processor ratio
  • Paired with 12TB NVME flash technology, the solution helps increase processing speeds of heavy workloads

DNA Sequencing Costs Declining Rapidly

The advancement in stem cell research with the use of supercomputers means that sequencing DNA, research that once cost up to $3 billion and 10 years, now takes 26 hours for $20,000. Return on investment was a major factor in AbbVie Stemcentrx’s decision to partner with SGI. The time-savings made possible by the SGI UV 300 system will cover the investment costs within two months. Considering it can cost up to $1 billion to take a drug to market, accelerating the analysis and data processes during the three phases of the clinical FDA-monitored trials can leave a major impact on a company’s potential for success.

To best recognize, target and eliminate the cancer stem cells that are responsible for tumors, AbbVie Stemcentrx analyzes multiple datasets at once. By increasing the amount of data the bioinformatics team is processing, they are also able to increase the amount of useful information that is generated. With the high-performance computing technology from SGI, AbbVie Stemcentrx is able to annotate and re-annotate genetic sequences in three days — down from three weeks.

In related news this week, Hewlett Packard Enterprise announced that it has completed its acquisition of SGI.

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