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Lion Votes for Change, Considers Potential Buy-out

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A Lion Bioscience investor took company management by surprise during a shareholder meeting in March by announcing that two venture capital firms may offer to purchase some or all of the company’s assets.

During the company’s extraordinary shareholder’s meeting in Heidelberg, Germany, on March 24, in which investors voted in favor of a new set of bylaws that could enable management to buy out the firm, Ian Humphery-Smith, an organizer of the Human Proteomics Organization and current Lion shareholder, stood up and declared that FM Fund Management and Zapis Capital Group might soon make a buy-out offer of their own.

Gunter Dielmann, vice president of investor relations at Lion, says that the company “knew nothing” about the proposed purchase offer beforehand.

The “offer has no specific numbers,” he says. Lion was told that the offer “should or will take place anytime in the future.”

Lion investors were scheduled to vote on several resolutions that would enable management to buy out its Cambridge, UK-based SRS bioinformatics business, currently known as Lion Bioscience Ltd.

Lion’s board had recommended a new structure that would establish the Heidelberg-based parent firm, Lion Bioscience AG, as a holding company that would have only a “minority interest” in the bioinformatics business, which would remain in Cambridge. The holding company’s primary function would be to manage Lion’s remaining €25 million in cash holdings and to “invest in promising companies with excellent growth prospects as well as in intellectual property and industrial property rights, particularly in the area of the life sciences/IT sector.”

According to Dielmann, shareholders voted in favor of the proposals, giving management the operating freedom to restructure the company in this way.

—Bernadette Toner

 

PATENT WATCH

US Patent No. 6,859,736. Method for protein structure alignment. Inventors: Richard Blackenbecler, Mattias Ohlsson, Carsten Peterson, Markus Ringner. Assignee: Stanford University. Issued: February 22, 2005.

The invention provides a method for protein structure alignment, specifically, a method for identification, classification, and prediction of protein structures. This includes an energy or cost function formulation of the problem simultaneously in terms of binary (Potts) assignment variables and real-valued atomic coordinates.

 

US Patent No. 6,859,735. Computer systems for identifying pathways of drug action. Inventors: Roland Stoughton, Stephen Friend. Assignee: Rosetta Inpharmatics. Issued: February 22, 2005.

The present invention provides methods and computer systems for identifying and representing the biological pathways of drug action on a cell. In addition, the patent covers methods and computer systems for assessing the significance of the identified representation and for verifying that the identified pathways are actual pathways of drug action. The present invention also provides methods and computer systems for drug development based on the methods for identifying biological pathways of drug action, and methods and computer systems for representing the biological pathways involved in the effect of an environmental change upon a cell.

 

NSF plans to award $7 million annually under its Biological Databases and Informatics program, which “seeks to encourage new approaches to the management, analysis, and dissemination of biological knowledge.”

 

Accelrys will use BlueArc’s Titan SiliconServers as its standard storage platform. Accelrys purchased three Titan SiliconServers with more than 40 TB of storage to support its operations in the US, UK, and India.

 

GE Healthcare will relocate Imaging Research, the Ontario-based bioinformatics and screening company it acquired with Amersham, to Piscataway, NJ.

 

IBM will offer on-demand access to a Blue Gene supercomputer housed at a new Deep Computing Capacity on Demand Center in Rochester, Minn. IBM customers will be able to remotely access up to 5.7 teraflops of peak performance through the Blue Gene system.

 

Germany’s Max Planck Society has signed a broad license agreement for DNAStar’s bioinformatics software.

 

The University of California, San Diego, has installed a 2.6-teraflop, 210-node Dell PowerEdge Linux cluster to support bioengineering and computational biology research.

 

The Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry and the German Cancer Research Center licensed Spotfire’s functional genomics software.

 

Datapoint

50

“There are about 50 papers in the system, and we’re getting submissions every day,” says Phil Bourne, founding editor-in-chief of PLoS Computational Biology, an open-access journal to be launched in June at ISCB’s 13th annual Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology conference.

 

The Scan

Plan Rebuffed

The Associated Press reports China has rejected the World Health Organization's proposal to include the lab-leak theory in the next phase of its investigation into the origins of SARS-CoV-2.

Opossum Change

Researchers from Riken have used CRISPR to edit marsupial genomes, as Technology Review reports.

In the Ice

Cosmos magazine reports that researchers have uncovered more than two dozen ancient viruses in a Tibetan glacier.

Nature Papers Present Method to Uncover Differential RNA Modifications, Neutrophils in Innate Immune Response

In Nature this week: computational approach to identifying differential RNA modifications, and more.