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Affymetrix Takes $5 Million Equity Stake in Its Database Partner, Ingenuity Systems

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Affymetrix announced this week an equity investment in Ingenuity Systems of Mountain View, Calif., an informatics firm creating web-based products for life sciences applications.

As part of the deal, Affymetrix will add to its product offerings Ingenuity’s Pathways Analysis database product for the analysis of therapeutic networks in gene-expression array data sets. The product, containing over 1 million curated findings gathered over five years, will be offered through an annual subscription fee. Pricing details were not provided. The product is in beta release form currently and will be available in a limited release form in September, the companies said.

Affymetrix is making a $5 million equity investment in the firm, part of a Series D $7.3 million third-party financing deal for the 5-year-old company, which has taken in some $56 million in three previous rounds of venture capital investment.

The activity is the first this year for Affymetrix, which is carrying a promising investment in spinoff Perlegen Sciences, in addition to a $3 million equity investment made in December in Arcturus of Mountain View, Calif., and a small investment in GenoSpectra of Fremont, Calif., in 2001. The company previously invested in Eos Biotechnology and Orchid Biosciences.

Ingenuity already has strong ties to Affymetrix. Steve Fodor, Affymetrix chairman and CEO, is an investor, as is Alejandro Zaffaroni, who spun Affymetrix out of Affymax in 1991, and John Young, the retired CEO of Hewlett Packard and an Affymetrix board member.

Ingenuity’s previous funders include Accel Partners of Palo Alto, Calif.; Bay City Capital of San Francisco; Brookside Capital Partners, the private equity affiliate of Bain Capital of Boston; Millennium Pharmaceuticals; Morgan Stanley Dean Witter Private Equity of New York; Oracle Venture Fund of Redwood Shores, Calif.; Three Arch Partners of Portola Valley, Calif.; and Technofyn Associates, Zaffroni’s investment vehicle.

The Pathway product can generate de novo pathways for microarray researchers, said Frank Mara, Ingenuity’s senior vice president of marketing.

Also, the product is not limited to data derived from the Affymetrix platform, it will also accept tab-delineated data, he said.

—MOK

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