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July 28, 2003
Volume 81, Number 30
CENEAR 81 30 p. 11
ISSN 0009-2347


COMBINATORIAL CHEMISTRY

Symyx Reels In Big ExxonMobil Contract

ALEX TULLO

In a huge deal, high-throughput experimentation specialist Symyx Technologies has inked a five-year alliance with ExxonMobil worth more than $200 million.

ExxonMobil Chemical has been a Symyx customer for catalyst discovery in polymers and olefins. But ExxonMobil Research & Engineering will now use Symyx tools to discover new catalysts and products in petrochemicals, lubricants, and refining.

Symyx CEO Steve Goldby says the new alliance “evolved from a successful history of working together.” He cites a six-month period in which the companies discovered a catalyst to improve olefin steam cracker product streams.

Goldby says Symyx will execute research projects for ExxonMobil, which will also buy high-throughput tools and research techniques from Symyx and standardize around Symyx software for data gathering and analysis. “The objective here is not outsourcing research; the objective is to transform the way in which ExxonMobil does research,” Goldby says.

In addition to the $200 million in services, licensing, and product revenues, Symyx says it could receive additional royalties for commercial products arising from the alliance. With $21 million from ExxonMobil this year, the company expects total 2003 revenues of $75 million to $85 million. In addition, Symyx says it needs to hire about 40 new employees.

Symyx says its relationships with ExxonMobil competitors such as Celanese, Dow, and BP are not in jeopardy.



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