For years, Scios Inc.'s fortune has risen or fallen with its Natrecor nesiritide recombinant form of the human b-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) hormone to treat congestive heart failure. But along the way, the company concluded that it could not build critical mass on the random successes of individual proteins, and set about coupling its biological knowledge to genomics and bioinformatics for small molecule discovery.

The result is a small-scale engine focused on cardiovascular and inflammatory indications, which recently produced Phase I data for the company's SCIO-469 p38 kinase inhibitor for rheumatoid arthritis.