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Gene Logic Names LBL Scientist to Head New Bioinformatics Division

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BERKELEY, Calif.--Bioinformatics-driven drug discovery company Gene Logic has named Victor Markowitz as vice-president of bioinformatics systems and head of the company's new Bioinformatics Systems Division, which will be based here. Markowitz previously served as project leader of the data management research and development group at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and he is bringing five of his colleagues there to Gene Logic. In his new position, Markowitz will report to Keith Elliston, Gene Logic's senior vice-president and chief scientific officer.

Over the past five years, Markowitz and his group at Lawrence Berkeley developed a set of scientific data management tools, based on the object-protocol model (OPM), for rapid development of relational databases, the integration of relational and flat-file databases, and construction of cross-database queries. The tools have been used to develop several biological databases, including Johns Hopkins' Genome Database; the German Genome Resource Center's primary database; the National Center for Genome Resources' Genome Sequence Database; and the National Center for Biotechnology Information's GenBank.

"Gene Logic has taken a strategic approach different from that of typical stand-alone bioinformatics companies," commented Michael Brennan, the company's president and CEO. "We believe that the most challenging informatics problems in the pharmaceutical industry are access to high-value data content and data integration, not a lack of analytical tools. We have focused our bioinformatics effort on making our genomic data plug-and-play with other databases that are essential to the drug discovery process, and which may have a variety of different relational and flat file architectures. OPM enables the integration of these databases without having to redesign them."

Markowitz had been at Lawrence Berkeley since 1987. Among the scientists from the national laboratory who are joining him at Gene Logic are E-Min Chen, Anthony Kosky, Ernest Szeto, codevelopers of the OPM tools.

In other news, last week Gene Logic registered with the US Securities and Exchange Com mission for an initial public offering of 3 million shares of common stock, expected to be priced at $10-$12. The offering will be underwritten by BancAmerica Robertson Stephens, Hambrecht & Quist, and UBS Securities. Gene Logic's collaborators include Procter & Gamble Pharmaceuticals and Japan Tobacco, which has agreed to buy $3 million of Gene Logic stock in a private transaction that will occur at the same time and price as the initial public offering.

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