Japanese Company Acquires D.C.'s MDLinx

With the merger,
With the merger, "MDLinx will be able to provide our users and our pharmaceutical customers with larger and deeper offerings," chief executive David Rothenberg says. (By Susan Biddle -- The Washington Post)
By Yuki Noguchi
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, May 20, 2006

A Japanese Web-based pharmaceutical company backed by Sony Communication Network Corp. yesterday announced it will merge with MDLinx, a Washington-based online health information company, for an undisclosed amount of stock.

MDLinx, a seven-year-old company, maintains an online site that aggregates medical articles and research from more than 1,200 sources and divides the content into specialized sites for consumers and physicians. MDLinx also delivers e-mail newsletters with clinical updates to more than 200,000 subscribers.

The merger with So-Net M3 Inc., which is 60 percent owned by Sony Communication Network, will allow both companies to further extend their expertise and international reach, the companies' executives said in a statement.

"Physicians are turning more and more to the Web to find information about their specialty," and at the same time, consumers are researching medicines and diseases online, said Sandra Jerez, chief strategy officer for MDLinx.

Rival companies, such as WebMD Inc., are focused more on consumer service, while another competitor, Medscape, focuses more on continuing medical education for physicians. MDLinx focuses on publishing up-to-date news and alerts on medicines, she said.

MDLinx is privately held and makes money from online advertising, sponsorships, and by selling market research and licensing its content.

"By becoming part of the Sony family, MDLinx will be able to provide our users and our pharmaceutical customers with larger and deeper offerings," MDLinx chief executive David Rothenberg said in a statement.

"MDLinx's sustained and growing profitability, its high usage among U.S. physicians, and its award-winning content made it a very attractive partner for us as we look to expand" to the U.S. market," said Itaru Tanimura, president and chief executive of So-net M3, in a statement.

MDLinx, which employs about 15 people, said it expects to complete its merger with publicly traded So-net M3 by the end of June. MDLinx had been funded by SpaceVest Capital, Internet.com (now JupiterMedia Corp.) and Netstar Ventures LLC.

MDLinx's operations will stay in Washington, and the company is looking to expand, Jerez said.

© 2006 The Washington Post Company