The maximal sensitivity of the Smith-Waterman (SW) algorithm has enabled its wide use in biological sequence database search. Unfortunately, the high sensitivity comes at the expense of quadratic time complexity, which makes the algorithm computationally demanding for big databases. In this paper, the authors present SWAPHI, the first parallelized algorithm employing Xeon Phi coprocessors to accelerate SW protein database search. SWAPHI is designed based on the scale-and-vectorize approach, i.e. it boosts alignment speed by effectively utilizing both the coarse-grained parallelism from the many co-processing cores and the fine-grained parallelism from the 512-bit wide Single Instruction, Multiple Data (SIMD) vectors within each core (vectorize).