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Symyx Acquires MDL Information Systems

By Allison Proffitt

Sept. 13, 2007 |  Symyx Technologies has acquired MDL Information Systems from Elsevier in a $123 million, all-cash transaction.

For Symyx, the acquisition is consistent with company’s ongoing efforts to drive shareholder value. “When I was first exposed to [MDL product] Isentris, I thought, we have to have this,” Symyx president Timothy Campbell told Bio•IT World.  “MDL has broad market penetration... [and] their technical ability is great. We’ll take their tools and be able to boost our offerings.

The joining of the two companies will offer what Symyx believes is the most complete set of tools and software offerings for the R&D informatics industry. It will join the Symyx electronic lab notebook (ELN) and workflow systems with MDL industry standards such as MDL Draw, Available Chemicals Database, and DiscoveryGate.

“All of that information will be available on the desktop,” Campbell said. “Execution, analysis, and ELN.”

The acquisition includes the majority of MDL, although Elsevier will maintain control of content assets including the Pharmapendium and CrossFire databases. “We have an ongoing relationship with Elsevier,” said Campbell, “a fully negotiated partnership.” Customers will still have access to the Elsevier databases, and Campbell expects no disruption to their services.

“MDL is an ideal strategic complement to our existing businesses,” said Isy Goldwasser, Symyx’s CEO in a press release. “These complementary offerings [from MDL] address a growing market trend.... Scientists are increasingly recognizing the essential role that informatics, database, and workflow solutions plan in more effectively managing research programs and driving higher productivity.”

Symyx believes the combined software and database operations could reach $100 million in revenues, and intends to continue to invest in MDL to expand customer offerings. Campbell expects the transaction to close in October of 2007, and says that in the meantime, Symyx will work on an overall integration plan.

“We’ve had a long partnership [with Elsevier],” Campbell said. “We expect value from day one.”

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