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Entelos Acquires Iconix to Improve Safety Modeling

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The future of biosimulation technology could get a boost from a company with a strong presence in providing genomics data in bulk.

At the end of August, Entelos announced that it had acquired Mountain View, Calif.-based Iconix Biosciences in an all-share transaction valued at $8.3 million.

The companies also agreed to a potential earn-out payment of up to $25 million if “certain milestones” are achieved within a year following the close of the deal. This deferred consideration also would be paid in Entelos shares.

While the companies currently operate in very different segments of the informatics market — Entelos specializes in in silico disease modeling while Iconix sells toxicogenomics databases — the move should not have come as a surprise. After all, it came on the heels of the news that Entelos is developing a version of its PhysioLab simulation platform to predict drug-induced liver illness for the US Food and Drug Administration, which is already a longstanding Iconix customer.

The FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research has been using the Iconix DrugMatrix database as part of its voluntarily genomic data submissions program since 2003.

James Karis, president and CEO of Entelos, says that the FDA deal was one of drivers for the acquisition and that the DILI PhysioLab project will be “accelerated” by the preclinical toxicology information from Iconix.

Karis says that Entelos has so far applied its simulation technology primarily to efficacy testing, and the acquisition is expected to strengthen its capabilities in predictive toxicology and safety assessment.

Entelos is “focused principally on trying to develop and create opportunities to do a better job of predicting around therapeutic development,” he says. “Our technology is primarily focused on efficacy, although we [do] some work on toxicity,” which is a big issue in drug failure.”

Laurie Wiegler

Short Reads

Genedata and the Fiehn Laboratory at the University of California, Davis, have formed a partnership wherein the company will provide its Expressionist software platform for biomarker discovery. The technology will be used for mass spectrometry-based metabolomics analyses with the goal of classifying patient samples and identifying biomarkers.

GeneGo will work with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to develop a software suite to handle data from cystic fibrosis drug-development studies. The new platform, called MetaMiner, will include off-the-shelf GeneGo products as well as ’omics and small experiments specific to cystic fibrosis that have been annotated by GeneGo.

Biotique Systems said it has tailored a bioinformatics data integration system for Monsanto that the agricultural company will use for its global genomic and biotechnology research efforts. The customized Biotique Local Integration System will be used to integrate and manage microarray, pathway, and genetic analysis data.

Simulations Plus, which provides software for pharmaceutical discovery and development, said it received orders for its software from the US Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health. The FDA has ordered additional licenses for the company’s GastroPlus simulation software and has acquired new licenses for its DDDPlus in vitro dissolution software, while NIH licensed the ClassPharmer software.

Patents

US Patent 7,250,553. System for functional gene discovery in plants. Inventors: Alex Liu, George Wadsworth, Helena Mathews, Ry Wagner, Jill Van Winkle, Sandra Peters, and Stephanie Clendennen. Assignee: Exelixis Plant Sciences. Issued: July 31, 2007.

The abstract for this invention says it includes “a system for managing plant mutant trait and genotype information in a database, a system for allowing users to associate plant trait and genotype information, a system for facilitating business transactions with a user regarding plant materials or a gene sequence of interest to user, and a computer-readable medium embodying a program of instructions for execution by a computer for implementing a system for allowing users to associate plant trait and genotype information.”

US Patent 7,251,642. Analysis engine and work space manager for use with gene expression data. Inventor: Ernest Szeto. Assignee: Gene Logic. Issued: July 31, 2007.

The patent covers a platform “for managing, integrating, and analyzing gene expression data [with] more direct, quicker, and more efficient access to gene expression data through the use of memory mapped files.”

Data Point

$123 million

The cash amount Symyx Technologies plans on doling out to acquire MDL Information Systems from Elsevier.

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