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GAITHERSBURG, Md.—In mid October, Gene Logic Inc. took another step in its continuing transformation to a drug repositioning and development company with the sale of its genomic assets to Hyderabad, India-based Ocimum Biosolutions Inc. for $10 million. Under the terms of the agreement, Gene Logic will receive $7 million at closing and the remaining $3 million will be payable pursuant to a promissory note due 18 months later.
With the sale, Gene Logic has now divested nearly all of the assets that are extraneous under its new business model. The only remaining assets are those of its molecular diagnostics division which were not part of the sale to Ocimum.
"Originally, we thought that perhaps we could sell the genomics and molecular diagnostics assets to a single company," says Charles L. "Chuck" Dimmler, president and CEO of Gene Logic. "But Ocimum is not that kind of company, so we were careful to retain those assets which we think have significant value."
Included in the sale to Ocimum were the entire Gene Logic genomic database that it had developed under its previous business model, as well as a significant tissue repository which Dimmler characterized as "impressive and one of the richest in the world." Gene Logic does, however, retain rights to all the genomic data it generated up to the date of the sale for use for its lead drug GL1001, currently in development for inflammatory bowel disease.
Gene Logic, in late July, announced positive in vitro results for GL1001 under work it was performing via an agreement with Millennium Pharmaceuticals. It subsequently acquired certain exclusive rights to GL1001 for commercial development. Gene Logic is currently seeking partners for its GL1001 program.
"We believe that the Gene Logic name is a valuable brand that appropriately should remain with the Genomics business of Ocimum Biosolutions," Dimmler says in a press release announcing the proposed name change. "We believe that the name Ore Pharmaceuticals Inc. is one that will enable us to build a meaningful identity more appropriate to the drug repositioning and development business."
For Ocimum, the genomic data obtained from GeneLogic will join a host of similar informatics products in it BioIT division, including Genchek (sequence analysis), OptGene (gene design), Genowiz (microarray data analysis) and iRNAchek (iRNA template design). The company also operates two other divisions: BioMolecules which produces mircroarrays and oligonucleo-tides; and BioResearch which provides molecular biology services such as GMO testing, nucleic acid purification, DNA extractions and gene synthesis.
"Ocimum continues to position itself as a preferred partner for genomics outsourcing. With this acquisition, the combined strengths of Ocimum and Gene Logic Genomics will make us an obvious choice for partnering," says Anuradha Acharya, CEO of Ocimum. "The Genomics business, when integrated with Ocimum's strengths in BioIT, BioMolecules and BioResearch groups, forms a premier business that can support multiple aspects of the life sciences industry. Gene Logic's genomics customers will also benefit from Ocimum's global presence."