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Microsoft buys gene-splicing software unit

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Microsoft is wading deeper into the health care industry today, announcing intentions to acquire Rosetta Biosoftware, a unit of Merck & Co. that makes software for analyzing genomes and conducting clinical studies.

Redmond intends to roll Rosetta's assets into the health industry research management software platform it debuted this April, Amalga Life Sciences.

The acquisition will let Microsoft incorporate genetic, genomic, metabolomic, and proteomics (fiddlin' with genes) data sets into Amalga software.

“The newly combined offering will enable customers to improve the management and analysis of genomic, biological and research data, helping to bring lifesaving drugs and therapies to market faster and accelerate the realization of personalized medicine," said Peter Neupert, veep of Microsoft's Health Solutions Group.

Under the deal, Merck has agreed to become a customer of the Amalga Life Sciences 2009 platform and will help Microsoft integrate Rosetta into the management platform.

Microsoft said it's "pursuing" hiring critical Rosetta Biosoftware employees at the moment, but didn't say how many of the 53 workers would make the switch. The deal is expected to close at the end of June 2009, with Rosetta-geared technology slated for availability in early 2010. ®

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