NEW YORK, Oct. 18 - Lexicon Genetics has granted Bristol-Myers Squibb a sublicense to its proprietary knockout mouse technology, the companies announced Wednesday.
The license covers certain aspects of Lexicon's positive-negative selection and isogenic DNA technologies, which were developed by Dr. Mario Capecchi at the University of Utah. Bristol-Myers Squibb will use the technology to generate knockout mice for internal research to validate gene-based drug targets or therapeutic proteins for drug development.
The parties would not disclose the financial terms of the agreement. But Randall B. Riggs, Lexicon Genetics’ senior vice president of business development, told GenomeWeb these licenses are a hot intellectual property for big pharma.
“The value of the licenses is going up every day because people are again realizing that you need in vivo models because it helps your clinical success rate,” Riggs said.
With traditional high throughput screening assays pharmaceutical companies see only five percent of compounds go from research to finished product, said Riggs, a former Eli Lilly executive. “With in vivo models we’re hoping to say 'when you take this gene out, it has this relevance .'"
Lexicon has also sublicensed this knockout mouse technology to Pfizer, Roche Bioscience, Schering-Plough Research Institute, Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Genentech, Amgen, Ligand Pharmaceuticals, American Home Products, DuPont Pharmaceuticals, and Biogen. The companies are only allowed to use the technology to develop knockout mice for their own internal research purposes. Additionally, Lexicon, which is based in The Woodlands, Texas, grants free sublicenses to non-profit non-commercial academic institutions for internal research.
This agreement with Bristol-Myers Squibb comes just three weeks after Lexicon signed the pharma company to a five-year database and license agreement worth as much as $25 million, in which Bristol-Myers Squibb will gain access to LexVision, Lexicon’s database of genomic information gleaned from its own internal experiments on its knockout mice.
Deltagen, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based company also offers knockout mouse technology to customers. In September, Deltagen entered into an agreement with Glaxo Wellcome to generate standard and conditional knockout animals for genes that Glaxo Wellcome is investigating.Lexicon has filed two patent infringement claims against Deltagen, seeking damages and an injunction to prevent Deltagen from manufacturing and marketing the technology. The claims, which Deltagen has asserted lack merit, are still pending.