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June 1, 2009 at 1:50 PM

Microsoft buys Rosetta software from Merck

bizrosetta25.jpgMicrosoft is buying Rosetta’s software, which analyzes genomic data, from pharmaceutical company Merck.

Rosetta Biosoftware has 53 employees in South Lake Union. Rosetta was started in Seattle, grew to 300 employees, and was then purchased by Merck in 2001 for $630 million. In October, the pharmaceutical company said it was eliminating or transferring 240 Seattle jobs.

Microsoft wants to incorporate Rosetta’s software into its Amalga Life Sciences platform, a software system that the company’s Health Solutions Group built for research institutions such as drug companies and universities. The company has also developed software products targeting health-care providers, to store patient medical records, and consumers, to help manage medical conditions.

“Figuring out how genomes interact with each other, analyzing peptides and metabolites finding out how these relate to other forms of data and gene expression — understanding all of those moving parts is no small task,” said Jim Karkanias, senior director of applied research and technology in Health Solutions Group. “The software Rosetta generates assists in that. That’s what we’re plugging into the life science platform.”

The company declined to say how much it was paying for Rosetta. The deal is expected to close in June and the Rosetta software will be available as part of Amalga in January. It’s not clear how many employees will be hired at Microsoft, but they will no longer have an office in South Lake Union.

(2004 photo of then-president Stephen Friend when Rosetta’s offices first opened in South Lake Union: Mike Siegel/The Seattle Times)

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