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Lion, Sated from NetGenics Acquisition, Removes Tripos From Its Plate

NEW YORK, Feb 7 - For Lion Bioscience, it's in with the new chemoinformatics platform and out with the old.


The German bioinformatics firm has liquidated its investment in drug-discovery chemistry company Tripos, both firms said in separate statements on Thursday. The move, which netted Lion roughly $22.5 million, comes just one month after Lion acquired NetGenics, which integrates bioinformatic and chemoinformatics.


Lion sold 812,182 shares of Tripos common stock in a block trade handled by UBS Warburg. As a result of the sale, Tripos' public float increased to approximately 8.4 million shares from about 7.6 million shares.

Lion also terminated its investor rights agreement and gave up the right to designate a Tripos director.


"Following our recent acquisition of NetGenics, Lion now has all of the elements for delivering an industry-leading data and application integration platform for the Life Sciences industry," Friedrich von Bohlen, Lion's CEO, said in his statement. "As a result, we no longer consider our investment in Tripos to be of strategic value."


In October 2000, the two companies struck a $25 million agreement to provide Bayer with a drug and agricultural chemistry research platform that would integrate Tripos' chemoinformatics technology with Lion's SRS data integration system. That agreement included an up-front payment, licensing fees, R&D funding, and milestone payments.


This working relationship between the two companies would not change, Tripos CEO and President John P. McAlister stressed in his statement. "We continue to work closely with Lion on our collaboration with Bayer to create an integrated chemoinformatics technology platform to speed Bayer's identification of lead candidates for its drug and agricultural chemical programs," he said.


Von Bohlen agreed: "Lion is committed to continuing its collaboration with Tripos in providing Bayer with a pharmacophore informatics platform to accelerate Bayer's drug-discovery activities.'' Lion is the project leader of this collaboration.


Tripos' technology allows researchers to analyze structure-activity relationships in molecules through three-dimensional molecular modeling.

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