March 12, 2007
Symyx Technologies Inc.
How has your company adapted and responded to the changing economic climate in the past five years when so many other companies did not?
Symyx has worked hard to diversify its offerings to adapt to changing market economics. Over the last five years, we have expanded our offerings beyond research services to find additional flexible ways to meet the needs of customers charged with maximizing R&D productivity. Along with research services, we now offer a large number of modular Symyx Tools to help customers improve the execution of their research and development and Symyx Software to improve data integration and access. Both our Tools and Software have been introduced to very positive response by the life sciences industry. Our growing list of customers includes 8 of the top 10 top global pharmaceutical companies and many biotechnology companies, in addition to leading chemical, energy and performance materials companies.
Symyx has further strengthened its offerings through acquisitions and strategic partnerships that have helped advance the availability and utility of our portfolio of products and services. Symyx has spent the last several years focusing especially on the reduction of R&D cycle-times for customers in the life sciences industry. The key to shorter R&D cycle-times is enabling faster, better decisions for scientists and project managers. While many life sciences companies have made significant investments in LIMS, automation, informatics and other knowledge management systems, few have achieved meaningful cycle-time reductions and commercialization results. The problem has been in actually facilitating lab science to both capture contextual data and share past experiments with other groups. Using miniaturized, parallel experimentation combined with informatics and desktop research applications, Symyx clients are collapsing R&D cycle times to achieve breakthrough results.
What is your vision for the future of the life sciences market over the next several years?
For the past 20 years, blockbuster drugs have played a significant role in the exponential growth of the life sciences industry. However, with increased competition from generic drugs, sky-rocketing costs of marketing blockbusters and declining support from regulators, pharmaceutical companies are starting to shift their growth strategies away from blockbuster drugs and on to niche-centric drugs. Niche-busters, as they are being labeled, face less competition and lower marketing costs. The value of theses niche-buster drugs grows significantly when an increased focus on research and development yields faster development times. Symyx Tools and Software help accelerate experimentation and improve R&D productivity.
Over the next several years, Symyx envisions a growing focus on R&D solutions will help power a more personalized approach to drug treatment.
What products and services does your company provide and what special capabilities do they offer the life sciences market?
Symyx Technologies, Inc. is a global provider of R&D execution and innovation for the life sciences and other industries. Symyx develops and applies high-throughput research technologies and research software for customers. We work with customers to speed and improve research, discovery and development of new products. Symyx provides collaborative research services, electronic lab notebook and scientific decision-support software and instruments to integrate and automate laboratory experimentation.
Our technologies are focused on a complete set of experimental procedures and achieving the next key decision point quickly and with quality information to enable better decisions. Our high-throughput technologies are based on the premise of speeding experimentation by using small quantities of materials and running many automated experiments simultaneously. Symyx Software links information from scientists with data from instruments, yielding visibility and integration benefits across the enterprise. We help transform and accelerate the materials discovery, development and commercialization process, from materials synthesis to screening to data analysis. With Symyx working for them, companies are conducting more experiments in less time — enabling them to discover, develop and commercialize high-value new products.
Partnerships are an effective way to track life science advances and ensure that your company delivers timely products and services. Which life sciences companies or organizations have you partnered with or invested in and why?
Collaborations are a cornerstone of Symyx’s mission and business model. To advance the R&D of life sciences companies, Symyx has collaborated with industry leaders to create new technologies for materials optimization, testing and development. We have worked with industry leaders such as Merck & Co., Eli Lilly and Co. and Bristol-Myers Squibb.
Furthermore, we help improve the timeliness of the products and services our customers deliver by enabling better communication between large pharmaceutical companies and contract research organizations with our electronic lab notebook and decision-support software that facilitates the exchange and accessibility of scientific data and research information.
Lastly, we also partner with numerous lab equipment vendors and other software providers to ensure that Symyx Tools and Software work with whatever other systems may exist in our customers’ labs. We believe that integration is the key to improving efficiency and productivity and we are committed to helping our customers advance. For example, we recently integrated our Symyx Software ELN applications with Waters NuGenesis SDMS. When using Symyx Software Electronic Lab Notebook (ELN) applications to compose, load, calculate and share experimental information, users can now seamlessly retrieve data and documents from their Waters NuGenesis SDMS, saving time and effort.
What are your most exciting products and initiatives in development, and how will they improve life science research?
On January 29, 2007, Symyx released one of its most exciting new products, Benchtop Systems. The new Symyx Benchtop System, winner of the 2007 ALA New Product Award, increases testing capacity by 10–100 times and takes labor-intensive, repetitive work away from scientists, freeing them to better utilize their skills. It is a self-contained, software-driven unit that automates multiple steps of experimental procedures and comes with standard configurations and applications designed to accelerate R&D while reducing costs.
The Symyx Benchtop System utilizes the hardware framework of the Symyx Core Module Robotic Base Station. Benchtop Systems include miniaturized materials preparation capabilities (dual dispensing capabilities for both liquids and powder), sample processing capabilities (heating, cooling, mixing, and filtration), and sample analysis capabilities (weights, pH, imaging) – all combined with automated instrument control. The offering is powered by Symyx Software, providing a single experiment design and execution environment that reduces instrumentation set-up and data-handling overhead. The system hardware and software are upgradeable to perform automated experimentation for complete lab processes which would include integration with lab equipment and the ability to support document browsing and searching, enterprise-level security and auditing, and configurable document workflow.
Where do you see your company in five years?
Symyx is dedicated to helping companies in life sciences, chemical, energy, performance materials and consumer products maximize the effectiveness and success of their R&D programs. We expect to continue to innovate to offer new products and services that enable customers to engage with us at various levels. With our new, more modular systems, we expect that more life sciences companies will have access to our technologies and experience a positive impact on the productivity of their research and development. We believe that the value we offer will continue to be in high demand as our potential markets expand and grow.