Voxware Inc, the speech and audio compression firm from Princeton, New Jersey, is heading off in a new direction, and has agreed to sell off its speech coding technologies to Ascend Communications Inc for around $5.1m in cash. At the same time it’s agreed to acquire Verbex Voice Systems Inc from nearby Edison, New Jersey, for $5.2m in cash. Voxware is selling what amounts to all of its current operating business off to Ascend, including its core code technology, vocoder or speech compression algorithms, and companion signal processing algorithms. It plans to license back some of its technologies in order to service its existing business, but has agreed to stay out of the voice over internet protocol market. Voxware has been an OEM licensing company providing digital signal processing software to companies building products that require voice and audio capabilities. Its agreement to acquire Verbex signals a move into applications. It will take substantially all of the assets of privately held Verbex, and assume certain of its liabilities. Verbex develops noise-robust speech recognition systems, selling mostly through VARs and systems integrators to industrial companies. Its main product is the Mobile Voice Pack, a belt-worn system enabling industrial workers to interact with tracking systems verbally. Voxware plans to target picking, receiving, package sorting and inventory applications in the warehouse and logistics marketplaces with the technology. Verbex lost $1m on revenues of $2.6m last year. The reason for the shift, says Voxware, is the long sales and distribution cycles inherent in its previous business and the resource requirement need to develop its markets.