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PE Purchases Molecular Informatics, Doubling Its Bioinformatics Capability

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NORWALK, Conn.--In a move that doubled its bioinformatics personnel, Perkin-Elmer here has purchased Santa Fe, NM-based bioinformatics software provider Molecular Informatics for an undisclosed sum.

The acquisition involved buying all outstanding shares of Molecular Informatics, according to a Perkin-Elmer spokesman. He said the deal was will complement Perkin-Elmer's existing bioinformatics capabilities, which includes a staff of 50. "We have the tools for a seamlessly linked drug-discovery system," he commented.

"The rapid growth in life sciences, with its increasing need to manage, integrate, and interrogate vast amounts of information, is redefining pharmaceutical drug discovery and development," observed Tony White, Perkin-Elmer's chairman, president, and CEO, in a prepared statement. "With Molecular Informatics, Perkin-Elmer has the technologies in place to link the systems that pharmaceutical research companies need to compress the time and reduce the cost of discovering new drugs and bringing them to market." White added that Perkin-Elmer can now offer customers the ability to identify genetic disease targets, manage the quickly expanding information available in genomic and other databases, apply breakthrough tools of combinatorial chemistry, and screen immense libraries of chemical compounds for desirable biological and therapeutic activity.

Edward Cantrall, president and CEO of Molecular Informatics, noted that the two firms have been working on complementary products. "The combination of our bioinformatics systems with Perkin-Elmer's platforms in genetic and chemical analysis and functional genomics further positions Perkin-Elmer to provide its customers with a seamlessly linked, continuous discovery system for drug discovery and development," he remarked. "The system's capabilities will extend to pharmacogenomics, where this information will be increasingly used to make decisions about patient therapy. We now expect to be able to accelerate the development of automated and integrated high-throughput systems that define that molecular medicine paradigm."

Cantrall and Chris Fields, vice-president and chief scientific officer, will continue to run Molecular Informatics, reporting directly to White. All staff are expected to remain at the acquired company, which will continue to be based in Santa Fe, the Perkin-Elmer spokesman said. He added that Perkin-Elmer will likely hire more bioinformatics researchers at some point in the future, but declined to be more specific. He also would not comment on whether the company plans additional acquisitions in the bioinformatics area.

In a related move, MDL Information Systems, San Leandro, Calif., announced that it will transfer its rights as the exclusive marketing, sales, and support agent for Molecular Informatics' BioMerge System and Genomes Today service to Perkin-Elmer effective January 1. "We foresee a continued partnership with MDL and hope to collaborate with them to link our products together to make our customers' processes more effective," said Peter Barrett, Perkin-Elmer's vice-president of business development.

Thomas Jones, MDL's president and chief operating officer, added that his company will honor all existing contracts.

--Joe D'Allegro

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