The Next Big Little Market

Six months ago, I explained why I was bullish on Accelrys (Nasdaq: ACCL  ) . Since that time, its stock has appreciated nearly 40%, and I'm even more optimistic about the company's future today.

Earlier this month, Accelrys announced that revenue for the quarter ending Sept. 30 had increased 30% year over year. In the same period, the company cut its net loss by 54%.

Accelrys still reported a loss of $2.3 million, but management is carrying out a long-term strategy. In September, I noted that the company had added Millennium Chemical, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lyondell and PPG Industries, to its already impressive customer base, which includes AstraZeneca (NYSE: AZN  ) , DuPont (NYSE: DD  ) , Hewlett-Packard, and Eli Lilly (NYSE: LLY  ) among others.

Earlier this week, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) joined that list. Accelrys announced a strategic relationship with the Seattle-based software giant to better meet the increasing demand for scientific software that runs on Microsoft's Windows operating systems. It's a win for both companies: Microsoft can meet customers' growing need to perform computationally intensive calculations, while Accelrys gains entry to a large, growing, and potentially lucrative customer base.

Last week, the company also announced the launch of its NanoBiology Initiative. It aims to develop better computational modeling and informatics software to help scientists and engineers apply nanotechnology to a variety of biotechnology sectors. Potential applications could include biological research, drug delivery, biosensing, and biomaterial design. Initiatives such as the NanoBiology Initiative or Accelrys' Nanotechnology Consortium don't immediately add revenue to the bottom line, but they do give the company an excellent way to stay abreast of the latest trends and issues affecting their customers.

Dr. Leroy Hood's presence as chairman of the NanoBiology Initiative's Scientific Advisory Committee also sends a very strong signal that the application of nanotechnology to biological research will likely be profound. Hood is the president and co-founder for the Institute for Systems Biology, a pioneer in the field of biotechnology, and has played a role in founding several biotech companies, including Amgen (Nasdaq: AMGN  ) and Applied Biosystems (NYSE: ABI  ) .

In my opinion, Accelrys' efforts to position itself at the crossroads of nanotech and biotech, and help facilitate new discoveries in those fields, could reap considerable rewards for the company and its shareholders.

More big Takes about small tech:

High tech. Nanotech.Biotech. If it's on the cutting edge, it's covered inMotley Fool Rule Breakers, the premium newsletter service in search of tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks. Sign up today for a 30-day free trial.

Fool contributor Jack Uldrich has been thinking small since grade school. He is the author of The Next Big Thing is Really Small: How Nanotechnology Will Change the Future of Your Business and the forthcoming book Investing in Nanotechnology: Think Small, Win Big. He currently owns shares in ACCL and Microsoft, but holds no financial position in any other companies mentioned. He can be reached at

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