Gene Logic Seeks Use for Failed Drugs

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), August 3, 2004 | Go to article overview

Gene Logic Seeks Use for Failed Drugs


Byline: Tim Lemke, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Gene Logic executives are hoping the path to profitability lies with failed drugs.

The Gaithersburg biotech company has reached an agreement with Millennium Pharmaceuticals to find new uses for drugs that didn't work in original testing.

Under the agreement announced July 23, Millennium researchers will join Gene Logic and examine so-called "stalled" drugs, then recommend alternative uses to biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.

Gene Logic then would receive royalties if those recommendations lead to the production of an effective drug. The company will only issue opinions on potential uses for the drugs, and will not be involved in any drug production.

"The vast majority of the drugs that are developed fail," said Gene Logic spokesman Bob Burrows. "We have the technology that will allow [drug companies] to recoup these lost costs."

Gene Logic will pay Millennium about $9 million under the agreement. It will pay $4.5 million to allow access to a special database for three years, plus $3.5 million in stock or cash in 2006. In addition, Gene Logic will pay $1 million in cash or stock to the employees who are switching companies.

Gene Logic is one of the first companies to outsource testing of failed drugs. Most drug companies have been exploring ways to recoup lost costs of "stalled" drugs, but have not dedicated the resources needed to explore new uses.

Gene Logic signed on Cambridge, Mass.-based Millennium as its first customer, and will attempt to find new uses for MLN-4760, a drug produced by Millennium that failed in its original use as a treatment for obesity.

Analysts generally gave Gene Logic executives credit for seeking a new stream of revenue, particularly since the company's base business of providing early-stage drug testing to pharmaceutical firms has failed to garner a profit. …

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