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Aurora Biosciences Acquires Recombinant Protein Producer

NEW YORK, Nov 17 – Aurora Biosciences has acquired Panvera, a Madison, W isc. company that manufactures recombinant protein drug targets and protein drug screening assays, in a merger agreement announced Friday.

Aurora hopes this acquisition will augment its existing genomics toolbox, which includes a high-throughput screening platform, bioassays and functional genomics assays, with key ingredients for proteomics-based drug discovery.

" The combination of Panvera's protein production capabilities and Aurora's discovery platforms will enable us to more efficiently prosecute important drug targets," Paul Negulescu, Aurora’s senior vice president for discovery biology said in a statement. " Panvera’s protein science productivity addresses the growing need for functional proteins for structural proteomics.”

The acquisition also helps Aurora strengthen its sales and marketing infrastructure for its bioassay technologies, said Aurora president Stuart Collinson.

Panvera has agreed to acquire all of Panvera’s outstanding common stock in the transaction, and will provide Panvera shareholders with 1.9 million shares of Panvera stock.

This announcement comes just after Aurora’s positive third quarter financial statement, in which it reported net income of $1.4 million and $16.8 million in revenues for the quarter, compared with $10.9 million in revenues and a net loss of $1.7 million for the third-quarter 1999.

Panvera had revenues of $11.4 million for the year, compared to $3.4 million in 1996. Its operating expenses were $ 10.5 million, giving the company a net income of $900,000 for the year.

Aurora has recently provided its Ultra High-Throughput Screening System to Merck, has signed ion channel discovery agreements with Johnson & Johnson and Organon, and has ongoing collaborations with Pfizer and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

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