Oxford Molecular prospectus

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The Independent Online
OXFORD Molecular, a computer software company specialising in programs for the design of drugs, will publish its pathfinder prospectus tomorrow. The company, likely to be valued at pounds 30m, will raise about pounds 10m after expenses from its flotation.

The first spin-off from Isis Innovations, the company formed to exploit Oxford University's intellectual property, Oxford Molecular made losses of pounds 1.2m last year on turnover of pounds 1.4m. The previous year it lost pounds 900,000.

The losses were due to heavy spending on research and development, and the company now has 11 products available.

The programs can be used by chemists in industry on desk-top personal computers. Oxford Molecular has strategic partnerships with pharmaceuticals firms such as Glaxo, British Bio-technology and Hoechst as well as computer firms Hewlett-Packard, Apple and Silicon Graphics.

It will use the proceeds from its flotation to expand its marketing effort in Europe and the US. Existing shareholders are not selling any shares.

Oxford Molecular last year took over the Strasbourg-based BioStructure, its biggest European competitor in molecular drug design software. Its main US competitors are Biosym and Tripos, both privately owned.

Proteus, the UK biotechnology firm specialising in computer-aided drugs development, and an Oxford Molecular customer, will be announcing a rights issue soon.