By Mary Welch
NetGenics Inc., a software-development company, scored its second collaboration: a four-year deal with American Home Products (AHP) Corp. that will integrate and enhance AHP's bioinformatics, genomics and drug-discovery initiatives.
"Everything will now fit hand-in-glove," said Manuel Glynias, CEO of Cleveland-based NetGenics.
Synergy, NetGenics' application framework and collaborative software engineering services, will be installed in three divisions of AHP.
Financial terms were not disclosed.
The system comprises cross-platform, client-server-based bioinformatics software, in an environment that integrates legacy, third-party and proprietary data — organizing and integrating incompatible databases and analysis algorithms into a graphic format that mirrors the way multidisciplinary drug-discovery teams are set up.
"Semi-customized," the system is about 85 percent standardized and the remainder made exclusively to fit AHP's specific needs, Glynias said. "We don't sell software and we don't sell customized software," he added. "It's a mixture."
Synergy uses the Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA), made up of a set of standards agreed upon by a consortium of more than 700 hardware and software companies.
NetGenics will establish seven Synergy installations for AHP.
Glynias said his company is capitalizing on the fact that pharmaceutical firms have been slower to catch on to the computer revolution than those in other industries, and "suddenly the information available just exploded. There is an onslaught of data, particularly in [gene] expression, and they're trying now to deal with it."
With the deal comes a strategic partnership, Glynias said, in which AHP will meet regularly with NetGenics to maximize use of the technology.
The pact, although larger, is similar to a single-site agreement NetGenics signed late last year with Abbott Laboratories, of Abbott Park, Ill.
Incyte Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., also has invested $2 million to team up with NetGenics for development of more comprehensive software for desktop computers.
"Pharmaceutical companies are realizing that they have to better control all the information," Glynias said, adding that NetGenics has raised $25 million in venture capital so far. The most recent round gained $17.5 million. (See BioWorld Today, March 27, 1998, p. 1.) *