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ICAgen Signs $75 Million Drug-Development Deal With Bristol-Myers

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RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC--ICAgen here has signed a two-year collaborative agreement with Bristol-Myers Squibb that could be worth as much as $75 million. The deal focuses on the development of small-molecule drugs to treat atrial fibrillation.

Under terms of the plan, Squibb will give ICAgen an up-front payment plus additional research funding and milestone payments. In return, the pharmaceutical company will receive exclusive worldwide rights to lead compounds that result from the collaboration. In order for ICAgen to receive the maximum payment, two drugs must be commercialized. The deal may be extended for a third year.

Sources at ICAgen claimed the company talked to six prospective partners before finalizing an agreement with Squibb. The companies said they hoped to take the lead compounds to clinical trials by next year.

Novalon Buys Back Equity Position, Extends Cubist Collaboration CHAPEL HILL, NC--Novalon Pharmaceutical here has extended a collaboration with Cubist Pharmaceuticals but bought back the latter company's equity position in Novalon and revised Cubist's option to purchase all of Novalon's outstanding shares. The transactions allowed Novalon to complete a $6 million private financing.

Last May the companies signed a deal that gave Cubist a minority stake in Novalon for $1 million and an exclusive six-month option to buy the company's remaining outstanding shares. But after Novalon's Biomolecular Recognition System screening technology began to attract interest from a number of other research organizations, Novalon bought the equity position back for $2 million. Cubist gained an option to buy up to 20 percent of Novalon's founders' shares, and extended the two firms' ongoing collaboration in antiinfectives through 2001.

Meanwhile, the Swiss-based Lombard Odier Immunology Fund invested $6 million in Novalon, money the company says will go toward expanding operations, including adding new laboratories and scientists. The new deals also leave Novalon free to pursue collaborations with other drug companies in different areas. "We're going to be the next Incyte model of drug discovery," claimed Dana Fowlkes, Novalon's president and CEO.

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