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NC Firm Buys Company, Genomics Technology to Start New Subsidiary

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WILMINGTON, NC--Expanding on a major bioinformatics-related purchase earlier in the year, Pharmaceutical Product Develop ment (PPD), a contract research organization here, has announced that it is acquiring Sarco, a Durham, NC-based provider of combinatorial chemistry services, in exchange for PPD stock valued at $4.8 million. PPD is also buying the GSX System functional genomics platform technology from Ingenex, Menlo Park, Calif., for about $8.7 million in cash.

The acquisitions are aimed at allowing PPD to offer drug-discovery research services through a new wholly owned subsidiary that will be headed by former Ingenex president and CEO Mark Furth. Sarco founders Brad Brown, Eric Hallman, and Dan Ricca will serve as executive directors. In February, PPD acquired bioinformatics technologies when it bought Belmont Research, of Cambridge, Mass., which develops systems-integration technology and data management software.

"We said it makes sense to put it all together in one shop and offer seamless R&D services," said Fred Eshelman, PPD's CEO. The company has also broken ground for a 100,000-square-foot facility near Research Triangle Park that will add 175 jobs, and plans to expand its headquarters here, adding as many as 100 more positions.

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