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Bionomics, Gene Logic, First Genetic Trust, Gentris, Sankyo Pharma, Pyrosequencing, Nuvelo, Ardais


Aussies Bionomics, Howard Florey Insititute Pen R&D Pact

Australian genomics-based drug-discovery firm Bionomics has established a research collaboration in epilepsy and CNS disorders with the Howard Florey Research Insititute in Melbourne, the company said.

Bionomics, based in Adelaide, focuses on discovering and characterizing disease-related genes, especially in breast cancer, epilepsy, and angiogenesis.

The Howard Florey Institute, headed by Frederick Mendelsohn, focuses its research on brain and peripheral nervous-system areas, including neurochemistry, neurobiology, and neuroinformatics.

Gene Logic to Acquire TherImmune Research ...

Gene Logic will acquire TherImmune Research for $52 million in cash and stock, the companies said earlier this week.

Gaithersburg, Md.-based TherImmune, founded in 1998, is a privately owned drug discovery, pre-clinical, and clinical-trial contract-research organization.

Under the agreement, Gene Logic will pay TherImmune shareholders $31 million in cash, and will issue approximately 3.1 million new shares in a private placement, the value of which Gene Logic estimates at $21 million but said will be subject to the closing share price on the date the transaction closes.

The companies expect the acquisition to close during the second quarter of this year, subject to shareholder and regulatory approval.

Gene Logic said the acquisition will enable it to grow by creating its own outsourcing unit for drug-discovery and -development services to better address the needs of its biopharma customers.

The combined company will employ 500 people and be headquartered in Gaithersburg. TherImmune President Stephen Trevisan will become a member of Gene Logic’s senior management team and will become a member of Gene Logic’s board of directors.

... and Reports Q4 Revenue Jump atop Narrowed Loss

Gene Logic this week posted a jump in revenues for the fourth quarter of 2002 atop greater R&D spending and narrowed net loss.

Revenues for the period ended Dec. 31 were $14.8 million, an increase of 6 percent over the $14.0 million reported in the year-ago period. Gene Logic attributed the revenue increase to new and renewed subscriptions for its GeneExpress database.

Higher depreciation and amortization expenses, new software and database releases, and tissue acquisition costs drove the company’s total operating expenses to $19.4 million, up from $18.5 million year-over-year. Gene Logic posted research and development expenses of $14.7 million for the quarter, up from $14.0 million in the same period of 2001.

The company’s fourth-quarter 2002 net loss of $5.2 million, or $0.19 per share, shrank slightly compared to its net loss of $6.0 million, or $0.22 per share, for the same period of 2001.

As of Dec. 31 Gene Logic had $107 million in cash and cash equivalents. The company also holds $60 million in marketable securities available for sale.

First Genetic Trust Inks Gene Bank Agreement with Pfizer

First Genetic Trust will provide Pfizer with a genetic bank for pharmacogenomics-based drug discovery, the company said this week.

First Genetic Trust, based in Chicago, will work with Pfizer to design an informatics solution based on its genetic-banking system, which can track and manage access to samples and data in clinical trials that Pfizer is conducting.

The deal will allow users to integrate clinical data, genomic data, and informed consents in an infrastructure that complies with FDA regulations on electronic data submission, First Genetic said.

Gentris, Sankyo Pen 3-Year Pharmacogenomics Pact

North Carolina-based clinical pharmacogenomics company Gentris said earlier this week it has begun a three-year non-exclusive collaboration with Sankyo Pharma, the US subsidiary of Japanese pharmaceutical firm Sankyo.

The companies will partner to create a pharmacogenomic test panel based on proprietary tests developed by Gentris to investigate drug pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, safety, and efficacy.

In addition, Gentris and Sankyo Pharma said they would work jointly on new diagnostic tests to complement Sankyo’s new drugs.

Pyrosequencing Posts Lower Q4 Revenue, Narrowed Loss

Pyrosequencing last week reported a slight decrease in total revenue, curtailed R&D spending, and a narrowed net loss.

Total receipts for the period ended Dec. 31 were $3.9 million compared with $4.3 million for the same time last year, Pyrosequencing said. The company attributed the decline to poor exchange rates between the Swedish krona, the US dollar, and the euro.

R&D spending in the quarter, meantime, was cut to $30.3 million from $42.8 million year over year. As a result, net loss narrowed to $5.5 million, or $.16 per share, from $6.2 million, or $.18 per share, in the fourth quarter 2001.

Pyrosequencing said it had roughly $54 million in cash, cash equivalents, and investments in high-grade debt securities as of Dec. 31.

Nuvelo Posts Fall-Off in Q4 Receipts, Widened Loss

Nuvelo, the new company formed by the recent acquisition by Hyseq of


, reported a drop in revenues for the fourth quarter along with a decrease in R&D spending and widened net loss.

Revenues for the period ended Dec. 31 were $3.5 million, approximately half the $7.1 million reported for the year-ago period. R&D spending, meantime, fell to $9.3 million from $15 million year over year.

Nuvelo posted a net loss of $16.5 million for the fourth quarter, or $0.72 per share, compared to a net loss of $11.4 million, or $0.61 per share, for the same period in 2001.

The company said it had approximately $2.2 million in unrestricted cash as of Dec. 31. Nuvelo also said that as of the close of the fourth quarter it had $10.0 million available through a line of credit from George Rathmann, chairman of Nuvelo’s board of directors.

Additional cash from the merger with Variagenics brought Nuvelo’s cash holdings up to $53.2 million as of Jan. 31, when the acquisition closed.

The company also said that after the “careful review” of all assets and programs at Hyseq and Variagenics following the merger, the new firm plans to tighten its focus on biopharmaceutical discovery and development, and “monetize non-core assets,” including its microarray business, pharmacogenomics technology, and molecular diagnostics programs, to further support its development programs.

Series C Round Boosts Ardais by $13.4 Million

Ardais has raised $13.4 million in a Series C round of private-equity financing.

The was led by a group of existing investors, including The Kaufmann Fund, Advanced Technology Ventures, Advent Health Care and Life Sciences, EGS Healthcare Capital Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners, Pequot Private Equity Fund, BioVentures Investors, and Silicon Valley Bancshares.

This brings to more than $47 million the total cash Lexington, Mass.-based Ardais has raised.

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