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Musical Chairs for BMS Pharma Research: For $24M, It s Deltagen s Turn to Run the Shop

NEW YORK, Feb. 11 - Deltagen has dipped its toes deeper into drug-development waters with its proposed acquisition of Bristol-Myers Squibb's Pharma Research Labs division.
The acquisition, which will cost roughly $23.5 million in stock, gives Deltagen the keys to a small molecule-drug discovery firm.

It "will significantly advance Deltagen's efforts in using its validated targets for identifying lead candidate compounds for drug development," Deltagen said in a statement. "Deltagen plans to select a number of targets for compound development in 2002 from its internal in vivo mammalian technology platform, with particular emphasis on cancer, metabolic disorders and inflammatory diseases.

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

William Matthews, Deltagen's CEO, added: "Having developed a powerful systems biology approach to exploit the genome, our efforts are clearly coming to fruition and have placed the company in what we believe is a 'target rich' position. [The acquisition will allow us to] offer a much needed comprehensive novel drug discovery program to our current and future pharmaceutical partners."

BMS' Pharma Research Labs concentrates on integrating computational, medicinal, and analytical chemistry married to biological screening. The company's 70 scientists, including 53 chemists, work in a 77,000-square-feet facilities in San Diego that comprise 22 chemistry labs and a new biology center. The new wholly owned subsidiary, which was known as CombiChem before BMS bought it last October, will remain there.

Deltagen will disclose more information on the acquisition during its fourth-quarter earnings conference call on Feb. 12.

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