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Lion Bioscience, Incyte Genomics, Simulations Plus, Public Library of Science


Lion, Tripos to Receive Milestone on Bayer Pharmacophore Informatics Project

Lion Bioscience said last week that it expects to receive a $2 million milestone payment from Bayer by the end of the month for a portion of a custom pharmacophore informatics project.

The milestone payment had been deferred from October 2002.

The companies negotiated a modified agreement for the project that extends the delivery schedule to June 2004 (from March 2003). In addition, Bayer has agreed to use the upcoming Lion Discovery Center integration platform for parts of the project, according to Lion CEO Friedrich von Bohlen.

Lion and Tripos began the $25 million project in October 2000. The agreement included an up-front payment, a licensing fee for cheminformatics technology, R&D funding, and milestone payments through March 2003. Lion was to receive payment from Bayer, and share them with Tripos based on the portion of work completed by each company.

This agreement and payments are in addition to the $100 million, five-year deal Lion signed with Bayer in June 1999 to provide the information technology platform for Bayer’s gene and drug discovery efforts.

Under the modified agreement, Lion said it would “assume additional responsibility for developing analysis and visualization software, thus increasing its share in the project.”

Separately, Tripos announced that “payment related to a previously delayed milestone has been triggered and will be made in 2002 by an undisclosed partner within its enterprise informatics consulting business.”

Tripos said it would receive payments of “more than $2 million” in the fourth quarter for work performed as a subcontractor on the project. In addition, Tripos said it expects revenue in the range of $1.5 million for “follow-on work” required to deploy the project by February 2003.

Tripos also said that its contract on the project would be “redefined to focus exclusively on pharmacophore identification, which could extend into 2004.”


Incyte Changes Name, Again, to Reflect ‘Broader Mission’

Incyte Genomics, formerly known as Incyte Pharmaceuticals, will now be known as “Incyte Corporation,” the company announced last week.

The change, which will take effect in 2003, is intended to reflect “the company’s broader mission as both a drug discovery company and a leading provider of discovery research products,” according to a company statement.

“This decision was driven by the desire to unify our genomic and proteomic information business, intellectual property, and rapidly growing drug discovery organization under the Incyte name,” said CEO Paul Friedman.

The name change will be accompanied by “a new graphic look and corporate website” next year.


Simulations Plus Signs Roche for ADME Partnership

Simulations Plus, a Lancaster, Calif.-based provider of ADME simulation and structure-to-property prediction software, said last week that Roche is the first subscriber to its ADME Partners program.

ADME Partners provides access to Simulations Plus’ GastroPlus and QMPRPlus software, along with product training and consultation.

Financial terms were not disclosed.


PLoS Wins $9M Grant, support of HHMI; Prepares to Launch Journals

The Public Library of Science has been awarded a five-year, $9 million grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the non-profit organization said last week.

The award will support the publication of two open-access scientific journals, PLoS Biology and PLoS Medicine. The journals will retain the peer review and high editorial standards of current scientific journals, according to the organization, but will charge “modest fees” on each published paper to cover the costs of publication. PLoS said it will make all published works immediately available online, with no charges for access or restrictions on subsequent redistribution or use.

In addition, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute pledged to cover the publication costs for its 350 investigators when they publish in open access electronic journals.

“The generous support by HHMI is a strong vote of confidence in our journals and serves as a model for other funding agencies and institutions,” said Harold Varmus, president of the Memorial-Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and a leader of the PLoS initiative, along with Patrick Brown of Stanford University and Michael Eisen of the University of California, Berkeley.

PLoS expects to begin publishing the journals in the second half of 2003.


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