SciQuest, Inc. has signed a deal with Ill.-based Abbott Laboratories, a pharmaceutical research and development company, that will pour some badly needed capital into the company’s coffers.

A company spokesman says Abbott purchased SciQuest software that helps researchers located information on their computer desktop via a browser-based application. SciQuest calls the program the Enterprise Reagent Manager. Fortune Magazine ranked Abbott 21 out of 1000 companies studied for its “Annual Guide to America’s Greatest Wealth Producing Companies” last year.

Terms of the sale were not disclosed, but every deal brings SciQuest closer to raising the cash it needs to survive, and with each sale comes the promise of further cash generated through customer support. Fourth quarter 2001 revenues totaled $2.3 million from the sale of software license and other professional fees. But with annual expenses reaching $20 million, the company needs to double its monthly revenue just to pay its bills.

Earlier this week, SciQuest acquired New Hampshire-based Textco, a developer of software that helps scientists track DNA construction and sequence analysis projects, in a deal involving an undisclosed amount of cash and common stock.

Textco, which first tested its software on the U.S. military during the company’s infant stages, generated $500,000 in revenue last year, so it will generate some revenue for SciQuest. But Textco is supplying SciQuest with a finished product, meaning the company doesn’t have to conduct tests before it can sell the software.

SciQuest scouting the field

The move may signal the beginning of a buying spree SciQuest Chief Executive Officer Stephen Wiehe vowed the company would begin early this year. As a company, SciQuest is struggling to adapt to a new business model, and it’s a time that could spur the company to either prosper or implode.

The acquisition of Textco and the sale to Abbott is widening SciQuest’s financial base, but regardless of SciQuest’s foundation, Wiehe is finding that it’s not easy convincing customers that SciQuest, with its rocky history, will still be around in a few months.

“Time is our biggest helper,” Wiehe says. “It’s people that see us with new products that begin to move away from us at times saying, ‘Oh, you were that dot-com.’ “

Founded during the dot-com boom of the late 1990s, SciQuest was a Web-based clearinghouse for buyers and sellers of scientific equipment. At its peak, SciQuest stock reached $84 a share before dropping into penny land during the last year. Shares of SciQuest stock recently traded near $1.60.