SANTA CLARA, Calif.—The recent announcement that biotech heavyweight Amgen intends to buy Ilypsa for $420 million was more than just music to the ears of Ilypsa's venture capital partners. Life science R&D-enabling company Symyx Technologies also stands to benefit from its 10 percent ownership interest in the company, which was spun out of Symyx in 2003.
Symyx CEO Isy Goldwasser says the sale of Ilypsa "is a testament to the value creation potential within Symyx. While we are pleased with the expected financial outcome, we are especially pleased that Ilypsa demonstrates how Symyx technology, when paired with a very talented team having domain expertise, can create valuable products in record time."
Many analysts agree with that assessment, as Ilypsa had progressed from a spinout using a parallel, miniaturized, high-throughput discovery platform to a company that today has product pipeline of five therapeutic candidates to a $420 million buyout in less than four years.
According to Teresa Thuruthiyil, VP of investor relations, the decision to spin out Ilypsa was made since its very specific technology had the most value as an engine for drug discovery.
"The idea was we needed to fund that technology and do it so that it wouldn't be a distraction to the work we do for other life science companies," she says. "In order for it to have maximum value, we would have needed expertise in different areas. The right thing to do was spin it off and they could bring those other pieces and expertise into a new company."
Currently, Symyx' sole investment in Ilypsa was obtained through the transfer of the discovery platform assets and technology, meaning that after taxes, the company stands to add about $20 million to coffers that already hold more than $150 million.
While Thuruthiyil couldn't say exactly how the company intends to use the proceeds from the sale, she did indicate that the company sees greater opportunity in the drug discovery and development market, where it currently provides tools, automation technology and software and may make targeted acquisitions in this area in the near future.