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SBI and GeneFormatics Become Cengent Therapeutics

This article has been updated to clarify a financial term.


NEW YORK, May 19 - The merger between Structural Bioinformatics and GeneFormatics has been finalized and the new company is named Cengent Therapeutics, the company said today.


The merger, announced January 6, has been approved by the California Department of Corporations as well as the shareholders of both companies, the company said.


The name Cengent was chosen because it reflects "a combination of science and engineering, as well as the concept of intelligence," according to CEO Edward Maggio.  In this case, "combination" is perhaps the operative word. The company has added SBI's X-ray crystallography and databases to GeneFormatics' expertise in NMR-based structure analysis, databases, and informatics. And, in addition to combining their roster of pharmaceutical and biotech collaborators, they have pooled their resources to jump further into pre-clinical drug discovery programs.


Cengent has a number of pre-clinical drug development programs in obesity/diabetes, anti-infectives, oncology, and inflammation. The diabetes/obesity drug is the furthest along, according to Maggio, who said that there has been interest from potential pharma and biotech partners.


In the financial arena, the combination also strengthens the company. Cengent has raised over $90 million to date, and has enough money to last beyond 2005, according to management.


The company will be headquartered at SBI's San Diego facilities, and by September, all GeneFormatics' employees - along with technologies such as the NMR spectroscopes - will be moved to this facility, Maggio said.

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