Lion bioscience AG and IBM Corp. have positioned themselves as competitors in the bioinformatics space. But last week's deal to combine their efforts may allow the collaborators to achieve market penetration that neither company was able to win on its own.

According to Rudi Potenzon, CEO of Lion's U.S. subsidiary, Lion Bioscience Research Inc. (Cambridge, Mass.), the deal was some time in the making. "We've been claiming each other as competitors but really we were trying to figure out how we could dance together. This deal is the result of six months of talking at the highest levels," he said. "Because of the perception that we were competitors, we really kept the talks quiet and haven't told our customers. This is evidenced by the fact that the deal was first leaked only a week or so ago" (see BioCentury, Nov. 12).