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In Latest Twist, Commonwealth Biotechnologies Offers to Buy Tripos' Discovery Research Arm for $2.3M

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) — Tripos has entered into a material agreement to sell its Discovery Research business to Commonwealth Biotechnologies, according to a term sheet Tripos filed on April 20 with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
CBI, a molecular diagnostics company based in Richmond, Va., would pay as much as $2.3 million for the unit, broken down into $500,000 in cash and a total of $1.8 million in base receivables. The term sheet expires in early May.
Three days ago, Tripos said it planned to sell the unit for around $1.1 million to a trio of company executives, according to a letter of intent filed with the SEC on April 12.
That agreement, which is set to expire on April 26, allows Tripos to consider other offers for the business. However, the agreement with CBI restricts it from engaging with third-party buyers until the sheet expires.
Tripos CEO John McAlister told GenomeWeb News today that because CBI offered a larger sum it was fair to shareholders to consider the agreement, but added that Tripos would not engage other offers until these expire.  
For now, McAlister said, “our focus is on speed and getting the deal closed.”
While Tripos may extend either or both agreement deadlines, McAlister said he is optimistic that will not be necessary. “I think it’s a very high chance that one of these will go through,” he said.”
If the CBI deal solidifies, Tripos and CBI may sign a definitive agreement by the first week of May, when the term sheet expires, or soon thereafter. The companies would require approval from both firms’ boards and from US and British regulators.
Tripos said in November it was looking to sell the UK-based Discovery Research business as part of a plan to liquidate the company.  
Tripos sold its Discovery Informatics business in March to Vector Capital for $26.2 million. That business will keep the name Tripos Discovery Informatics, while Tripos Inc. will essentially be a shell after the TDR sale, and after it clears debts and assets.

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