Oxford Molecular Group, a computational chemistry softwarecompany, is acquiring privately-held IntelliGenetics Inc., a developerof gene sequence analysis software, in a merger aimed at the growingbioinformatics field.Neither Oxford Molecular, of Oxford, England, nor IntelliGenetics, ofMountain View, Calif., would disclose financial terms of theacquisition. The agreement is expected to be complete by mid-September.Craig Tyler, Oxford Molecular's marketing manager at the company'sSpringfield, Va., office, told BioWorld, "Oxford Molecular works atthe front end of drug development with software to understand howdrugs interact with proteins. IntelliGenetics is at the front end ofbiotechnology with software cataloging how genes work."Kate Hutchison, IntelliGenetics' marketing manager, characterized theacquisition as the first merger of two significant software players,bringing together IntelliGenetics' gene sequence analysis andbioinformatics with Oxford's computer-aided molecular designsoftware.Both Oxford and IntelliGenetics have about 45 employees.IntelliGenetics, which was formed in 1980, has offices in Belgium andJapan and will keep its name and headquarters.Oxford was founded in 1989 as a spin-off of the University of Oxford'sIsis Innovation, an intellectual property company. Oxford also hasoffices in San Diego, Erlangen, Germany and Paris. The company wentpublic on the London Stock Exchange in April and raised $15 milliondollars.IntelliGenetics has six computer software products for gene sequenceanalysis and bioinformatics. The company's flagship bioinformaticsproduct is called MPSRCH, a rapid searching software for DNA andprotein sequence analysis designed for massively parallel computers.Hutchison said bioinformatics used to refer mainly to computationalbiology, but more and more it also refers to gene sequence analysis anddata base searching. Bioinformatics has grown as gene sequencing databases have expanded."The data bases are doubling in size every 18 months," she said, "andthere has to be access to that huge amount of information that developsthe relationships between novel sequences and discovered sequences."

-- Charles Craig

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