Image analysis software firm BioImagene last week said that it will acquire Scimagix, a developer of informatics systems for storing, managing, and retrieving biological images.
Both firms, which are based in California, are privately held. Financial terms of the acquisition were not provided, but Mohan Uttarwar, CEO of BioImagene, told BioInform that the deal was “an equity transaction.”
Uttarwar will serve as president and CEO of the combined company, which will operate under a new name that will be determined “some time in the next 100 days,” Uttarwar said. Robert Dunkle, CEO of Scimagix, will serve as an advisory board member for the new company.
BioImagene is located in San Jose, but is in the process of relocating to Scimagix’s larger facility in San Mateo. Uttarwar said that no layoffs are expected due to the merger and that the combined company will employ around 60 people.
Uttarwar said that there is very little overlap between the two firms’ product lines, and a good amount of complementarity. BioImagene’s iHarness, Pathiam, and HistoGram products offer image analysis for diagnostic purposes such as histopathology, immunohistochemistry, and fluorescence in situ hybridization. Scimagix, meanwhile, has focused on the discovery end of the pipeline, and on image management rather than image analysis. The company’s flagship product, SIMS (Scientific Image Management System) allows researchers to store and query images from multiple experimental platforms. The company also sells ProteinMine, a 2D-gel analysis tool. In September, SciMagix launched CellMine HCS, an image management application for cell-based assay data [BioInform 09-20-04].
Uttarwar said that SIMS would be integrated with BioImagene’s iHarness platform and renamed iSIMS.
Uttarwar said that the product portfolio of the combined entity offers “a product line across the spectrum. You have gel analysis, cell analysis, tissue analysis, going from discovery, to development, to diagnostics and prognostics.”
The companies have at least one customer in common — Abgenix — and Uttarwar said that it was through a common customer that acquisition talks got started between the firms. The companies have been in partnership discussions for the last six to nine months, he said.
Uttarwar said he is optimistic for the future of the combined firm, which holds a total of eight issued patents so far.
The image informatics market is still “relatively untapped,” he said. Describing the field as the “next wave” of genomics and proteomics, he noted that “two-thirds of the data in the life sciences remains in the form of images.”
Uttarwar said that BioImagene sees the market following in the footsteps of radiology, “which has become a multi-billion dollar industry in the last 10 years,” he said.
“There is no reason why images as they apply to pathology, gels, cells, and tissue couldn’t be an even bigger market. But it’s a complex market, so it needs very innovative technology, which is what we have.”