It was a new idea a few years ago, but by now combinatorial chemistry is mainstream technology - at least in the sense that every pharmaceutical company wants it. But while the attraction of the technology is the millions of compounds that can be generated, the process has been criticized for the restrictions on the kinds of chemistries that can be used; the small quantity of compounds derived; and the complexity of the equipment required, which has made it hard to transfer the technology to licensees.

CombiChem Inc.'s strategy is to differentiate itself from the plethora of combinatorial chemistry companies through the ease of use of its technology and its ability to develop libraries of small molecules based on a broad range of chemical reactions. In addition, the company is developing an automated system to obtain larger quantities of compounds than is typically available.