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Ebioinformatics Loses Old Name, Buys New CEO

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Now that Ebioinformatics has acquired Empatheon, a life sciences data integration company based in Sunnyvale, Calif., it has also acquired a new name: Entigen.

Though the name has no particular meaning, it is symbolic of the firm’s intentions because it signals a move to more than just bioinformatics, says James Nelson, vice president of product marketing at Entigen.

“And it’s easier to say than Ebioinformatics,” he quips. The Internet domain, entigen.com, was also available.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the acquisition was valued initially at $11 million.

Ebioinformatics has had the money to do such a deal since last spring, when it closed a $10 million financing round, following a 1999 round of $2.5 million. It is looking to expand its customer base from its current 9,000 to 40,000.

Although Ebioinformatics made the acquisition, it is looking to Empatheon’s CEO Bala Manian to provide leadership; he is Entigen’s new chairman. Manian founded Biometric Imaging, Digital Optics, Lumisys, and Molecular Dynamics (now owned by Amersham Pharmacia Biotech).

Geoff Brooks, formerly Ebioinformatics’ chairman, willingly gave up his position but retains a seat on the board, says Nelson, adding that no layoffs were made.

Entigen plans to use Empatheon’s technology to go after new markets in addition to the existing bioinformatics foothold, says Nelson.

The Empatheon technology will enable Entigen to access disparate databases in a logical way to bring the most current data into Ebioinformatics’ BioNavigator life science browser in real-time, Nelson says.

“This technology has some good intellectual property buried into it that makes it much easier to merge different kinds of databases, whether they’re flat-file databases like GenBank or relational databases or text-type databases,” Nelson says. “All [of these] can be extracted very readily and then merged into a super-database of those, which then can be accessed by BioNavigator.”

— Matthew Dougherty

 

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