Synthematix, looking for the right mix to fuel further growth with possible financing, instead found the chemistry to fill an exit ramp for the privately held software firm with cash.

Thirteen million dollars, in fact.

“It’s a great day for us,” Tom Laundon, chief operating officer of Synthematix, told Local Tech Wire. “We talked to a lot of people within the industry.

“We were looking at the question of how to scale the business. We were in serious discussions about a number of operations. We were in a growing market, and we needed to grow in response to that.”

Symyx, which is publicly traded (Nasdaq: SMMX) and based in Santa Clara, CA, said Wednesday that it was acquiring Synthematix in an all-cash deal. Symyx plans to retain Synthematix management, employees and an office in RTP, according to people close to the deal.

“This deal is an absolutely huge win for the employees, the investors, the company, the customers and the state of North Carolina,” Jason Caplain, a member of the Synthematix board from investor Southern Capitol Ventures, told LTW. “This is Symyx planting a flag in RTP.”

The deal had been in the works for some time but accelerated recently when Symyx, which has its own software technology related to chemistry and drug research, acquired IntelliChem recently for more than $26 million. Symyx reported $83 million in revenues in 2004 and expects to top $100 million in 2005. Its stock closed at $26.91 on Wednesday.

Synthematix announced a number of deals involving its Arthur suite software throughout 2004 and was growing. The company, which was founded in 2000, faced numerous challenges, however, one of which was its size. Synthematix, which employs some 20 people and had $1 million in cash on hand according to Symyx, was struggling to find a way to grow, Laundon explained.

“When IntelliChem was acquired last fall, that added fuel to the fire,” Laundon said. “We were the smallest in the field.”

Although Symyx was not a competitor of Synthematix, Laundon said management at both firms was familiar with each other. In addition to Symyx, Synthematix talked with numerous other potential players as well as different growth strategies. The company had disclosed plans to raise venture capital.

“We had a number of parties interested, and we were talking about mergers, acquisitions and partnerships,” Laundon said. Once Synthematix indicated it was open to being acquired, the offers intensified.

“If you have three cars to pick from when you need to buy,” Laundon said, “it’s better than having one.”

Synthematix: www.synthematix.com