IBM (NYSE: IBM) Enters Biotech Industry

Brian Hicks

Updated January 28, 2013

IBM (NYSE: IBM) is pushing into the biotech business. Odd as it may seem, the tech giant has, in collaboration with the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, come up with a new antimicrobial hydrogel that can work through contaminated biofilms (which form naturally on exposed surfaces) to eradicate bugs and germs.

The applications for such a gel could be wide, particularly in the medical sector, where the gel could easily be applied to medical equipment and surfaces. Interestingly, this nano-medical development emerged out of IBM’s long history of research in semiconductors.

But as Fierce Biotech reports, the company has some way to go as far as impressing the biomedical world. The company’s decision to move for publication of its research, when its experiments do not yet include animal evidence, has drawn some criticism.

From Fierce Biotech:

“I’m frankly a little disappointed in the infectious disease part,” the NIH microbiologist Michael Otto told the Financial Times. “The chemistry might be there, but the microbiology is weak.”

The long gestation process of biomedical breakthroughs may well be something IBM, accustomed to the tech sector’s rapid pace of development, might have to get used to.

IBM’s release on the topic is available here.

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