A number of fundamental technical developments like the evolvement of oligonucleotide microarrays, new sequencing technologies and gene synthesis have considerably changed the character of genomic biological resource centres in recent years. While genomic biological resource centres traditionally served mainly as providers of sparsely characterized cDNA clones and clone sets, there is nowadays a clear tendency towards well-characterized, high-quality clones. In addition, major new service units like microarray services have developed, which are completely independent of clone collections, reflecting the co-evolution of data generation and technology development. The new technologies require an increasingly higher degree of specialization, data integration and quality standards. Altogether, these developments result in spin-offs of highly specialized biotech companies, some of which will take a prominent position in translational medicine.