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Lion Bioscience, Genomatix, SRI International, Sophic, Biomax, University of Oxford, Globus, Simulations


Lion Shareholders OK Management Decisions at Annual
Meeting; Sale of Bioinformatics Business is 'Close'

Lion Bioscience said last week that shareholders approved "the actions taken by the actual members of the Management and Supervisory Board in the previous fiscal year" during the company's annual meeting on Nov. 29.

Shareholders also approved "all proposed changes of the company's statutes" and voted Ernst & Young as the company's auditors for the current fiscal year, which ends March 31, 2006.

The company said that actions taken by its previous management and supervisory board, which resigned as a group in October 2004 [BioInform 10-18-04], were also approved "after detailed discussion."

Lion said that 31.3 percent of eligible voting shares participated in the meeting. Friedrich von Bohlen, former CEO of the company and chairman of the supervisory board, holds around 10 percent of the company's shares.

Lion did not explicitly state whether von Bohlen attended the meeting, however.

Lion said that company management also "confirmed within the course of the meeting the expectation of a close sale of the bioinformatics business."

Management also presented "valuable opportunities in terms of M&A activities" for Lion Bioscience AG, which will act as a holding company once the sale of the bioinformatics business is completed.

"We are currently talking with several identified companies, in order to evaluate the best business opportunities for Lion," said Peter Willinger, Lion CFO, in a statement.

Genomatix Secures GeneChip Compatibility for ChipInspector Software

Genomatix Software said last week that all of its software products have achieved GeneChip-compatible status under the Affymetrix GeneChip-compatible applications program.

Affymetrix listed Genomatix among compatible vendors when it launched the program in September [BioInform 09-19-05], but the company's newest product, ChipInspector, a single-probe-analysis package, was not available at that time, Klaus May, director of sales and marketing at Genomatix, told BioInform.

"We wanted to spread the news when we can deliver on promises," he said.

SRI Launches Center of Excellence in Computational Biology

SRI International, a nonprofit R&D organization, said last week that it has opened a Center of Excellence in Computational Biology.

The center's mission is to conduct collaborative research in "symbolic systems biology, synthetic biology, and bioinformatics to advance scientific understanding of biological systems and accelerate drug discovery and development," the organization said in a statement.

Patrick Lincoln, director of SRI's Computer Science Laboratory, has been tapped as director of the new center.

SRI already supports a number of computational biology projects, including an effort to model EGFR signaling networks; the BioSPICE (Biological Simulation Program for Intra-Cellular Evaluation) project to build a computer modeling toolkit for biology; the Pathway Logic software for modeling cellular networks; The Pathway Tools software system for pathway analysis; and the BioCyc collection of pathway/genome databases, which was expanded to include 160 organisms this summer.

Sophic Systems Alliance, Biomax Extend Text-Mining Agreement with NCI …

Sophic Systems Alliance said last week that it has negotiated a contract on behalf of its partner Biomax Informatics to extend a project with the National Cancer Institute to mine Medline abstracts.

Under the terms of the agreement, researchers from Sophic and Biomax will use Biomax's BioLT text-mining system to annotate 4,500 genes implicated in cancer, along with gene-disease relationships and cancer gene-compound relationships.

Patrick Blake, CEO of Sophic, said the company completed the pilot phase of the curation project, in which 1,000 cancer genes were annotated, last year. In the next phase of the project, NCI plans to make annotated cancer genes publicly available every six months, Sophic said.

The first 1,000 cancer genes from the pilot have been combined with the Biomax Human Genome Database, and the company said it will add new cancer gene information to the database as it is produced.

The curation of the entire set of 4,500 cancer genes is scheduled for completion in the fourth quarter of 2006.

… and Partner with IBM on Data Integration for Syngenta

Sophic Systems Alliance said separately last week that it had partnered with Biomax and IBM to win a data-integration contract with Syngenta Biotechnology.

Patrick Blake, CEO of Sophic, said that the partners beat out five other companies for the Syngenta project, which will be built upon the Biomax BioRS data integration system and IBM's WebSphere Information Integrator.

The system will be deployed globally across Syngenta over the next six months. IBM developed a wrapper for integrating BioRS with WebSphere Information Integrator last year, Sophic said.

"We conducted a detailed review of all features, functions, flexibility, performance, quality, and technical excellence for all vendors," said Michael Peterson, head of bioinformatics system development at Syngenta, in a statement.

Klaus Heumann, president of Biomax, said that the company's long-term relationship with Sophic, its integrator in the United States, "allows us to efficiently pursue and service large global accounts such as Syngenta."

University of Oxford Seeks to Out-License Molecular Docking Software

Isis Innovation, the technology transfer arm of the UK's University of Oxford, issued a notice last week that it "would like to talk to companies interested in developing the commercial opportunity" for a protein-ligand docking software package developed at the university.

According to the notice, the method improves on current methods such as GOLD and OXDOCK, which are lacking in accuracy and speed.

The new method is based on evolutionary programming and uses a multi-scale approach in which the geometry of the entire ligand is fixed after three points are defined. After this stage, the entire molecule is docked "to make the calculations more accurate," Isis said.

Further information is available at

NSF Awards $13.3M for Globus Toolkit Development

The National Science Foundation said last week that it has awarded a five-year, $13.3 million grant to support the Globus Toolkit, an open source software package for distributed computing.

The Globus Toolkit "underpins a rapidly increasing number of large information-intensive science projects in the United States and abroad," NSF said, including the NSF's own TeraGrid project, and a number of genomic research efforts.

Simulations Plus Requests Extension for 10K Filing

Simulations Plus said last week that it has filed for an extension of the due date for its Form 10K-SB — the annual report for a small business — for its fiscal year ended August 31.

Momoko Beran, CFO of the ADMET simulation software firm, said in a statement that "A number of accounting rule changes as well as schedule conflicts with our auditors and our internal staff have resulted in longer preparation time than we expected for the audit and write-up of the 10K-SB."

The company expects to file the report by Dec. 9.

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