PALO ALTO, Calif.—In a deal expected to close earlier this month, Agilent Technologies recently announced it signed a merger agreement with scientific information management company Scientific Software Inc. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.
At the heart of the deal is a suite of software products developed by Scientific Software for laboratory applications that provide everything from data collection from more than 300 different laboratory instruments, data repository management, and workflow solutions software that can help scientists both plan and automate aspects of their research.
"We believe that our combined product portfolios will enable customers to unify their lab needs with one software application, handling diverse data, applications and instruments from multiple vendors in a single, seamless and secure environment," says Jim Miller, director of software for Agilent's Life Sciences and Chemical Analysis business in a press relase announcing the deal. "Scientists can collaborate across laboratory operations, linking information from a wide range of instrument platforms and data sources."
The merger comes less than a year after the two companies entered into a co-marketing agreement that brought SSI's CyberLAB (now called Business Process Manager, or BPM) into Agilent's distribution channel.
"Agilent was looking for an enterprise content manager to be more competitive in the market and we were looking for a wider distribution of our products, because as successful as we have been, the Agilent brand is by far superior our own brand name," says Soheil Saadat, former CEO and founder of SSI of the marketing deal. "Since they were in more than 100 countries and we were only in two, we gave them the license to sell our CyberLAB product exclusively worldwide."
Early on, Saadat says, the companies enjoyed a strong working relationship based on similar corporate cultures and business philosophy. During this time, Scientific Software was in the process of developing the software that is at the heart of the merger: OpenLAB, a Web services software framework that enables management of all lab instruments, electronic content and processes in a single integrated platform.
"During this time I was sharing with Agilent the concepts of OpenLAB which was really our major vision at Scientific Software," says Saadat. "They liked the concepts very much. But again we felt we had a wonderful product but our distribution and brand recognition would have been an issue for us if we wanted to do justice to this wonderful product."
After examing other options — a second marketing agreement or an OEM agreement — both Agilent and SSI decided the best path for market penetration and to round out Agilent's own informatics offerings, was to complete a merger.