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Sigma-Aldrich Makes $2.5M Equity Stake in Benitec, Licenses RNAi IP

NEW YORK, Oct. 24 (GenomeWeb News) - Sigma-Aldrich has has bought a $2.5-million equity stake in Benitec and acquired the right to use Benitec's intellectual property to develop and market research reagents, the companies said today.


In exchange for the IP license, Benitec will receive an upfront payment of $2 million and stands to receive royalties on product sales and sublicenses. The companies noted that Sigma-Aldrich also acquired a license in the research reagent field to patents co-owned by Benitec and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization of Australia related to the use of RNAi for use in non-humans including plants, animals, and insects.


Benitec and Sigma-Aldrich said that the $2.5 million equity investment will be made in two tranches. Sigma-Aldrich has already purchased about 13.5 million shares of Benitec for $1.7 million, and will purchase an additional 6 million for $800,000 upon shareholder approval. Both tranches value Benitec shares at Aus$0.17 (US$0.11) each.


Once the second tranche closes, Sigma-Aldrich will be granted about 10 million options to purchase Benitec stock at Aus$0.32 per share, exercisable at any time before April 6, 2008.

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