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Incyte Expands Database Collaborations, Acquires Microarray Company

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PALO ALTO, Calif.--Incyte Pharmaceuticals here has signed an agreement that will provide access to the company's LifeSeq and PathoSeq databases to the life sciences businesses of Rhone Poulenc, and expanded its database collaboration with Pfizer.

In the Rhone Poulenc deal, Incyte will receive annual access fees and could earn future royalties on products developed with its technology. Rhone Poulenc divisions that will use the databases include Pasteur Merieux Connaught and Rhone-Poulenc Rorer. "This agreement enables Rhone Poulenc researchers to access Inctye's databases for pharmaceutical drug discovery, vaccine development, and gene therapy," explained Thierry Soursac, senior vice-president of research and general manager of Gencell for Rhone Poulenc Rorer.

Meanwhile, a current collaboration with Pfizer is being expanded to extend the pharmaceutical company's access to LifeSeq and add other databases and bioinformatics software. Details remain to be finalized.

In addition, the database and software company has signed an agreement to acquire Synteni, a gene expression microarray company in Fremont, Calif., that was founded in 1994. Incyte said it will use Synteni's technology to make prefabricated microarrays for genomics applications. The business will remain in Fremont and become the primary microarray manufacturing site for the combined companies. Incyte will issue approximately 2.2 million shares of stock for all Synteni's outstanding shares, with the deal expected to close this month.

"Synteni's technology will enable us to offer our customers prefabricated microarrays containing panels of genes selected from all of our various database modules in a commercially available format," Roy Whitfield, Incyte's CEO, remarked. "Furthermore, Synteni provides us with R&D, manufacturing, and sales support for expansion of our piezoelectric (Genejet) technology developed through the acquisition of Combion in 1996." Brook Byers, Synteni's chairman, added, "The shared vision of Incyte and Synteni is to provide to customers an integrated system including genetic and expression information within an overall R&D productivity environment."

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