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Gene Logic drops genomics and name for drug repositioning

By Dr Matt Wilkinson , 01-Nov-2007

After selling of its genomics business to Ocimum Biosolutions, Gene Logic is to change its name to Ore Pharmaceuticals as it looks to mine out new indications for drugs.

Gene Logic has historically made most of its revenue from its genomics division but with it losing money, the company has decided to focus on its drug-repositioning business, selling off its genomics division and name to Ocimum Biosciences for $10m (€6.9m) two weeks ago.


The company has now decided to change its name to Ore Pharmaceuticals as the Gene Logic name has become synonymous with its Genomics division.


The company has been in the process of repositioning itself for some time and sold its preclinical laboratories known as Gene Logic Labs to Bridge Pharmaceuticals last December.


Meanwhile, Ocimum Biosolutions has been quietly building up an end-to-end genomics business that provides BioIT software, microarrays, oligonucleotides and molecular biology services and this latest acquisition will enable it to better position itself to offer genomics outsourcing services.


Gene Logic will retain the rights to use the genomics information databases it has developed to aid in its emerging drugs while Ocimum will assume certain liabilities associated with the Genomics assets and business.


"Our business is undergoing transformation - we've proposed this new name to our shareholders to reflect the fact that we're becoming a new and different company," said Charles Dimmler, CEO of Gene Logic.


"We believe that the Gene Logic name is a valuable brand that appropriately should remain with the genomics business of Ocimum Biosolutions."


The Genomics division saw a slight drop in third quarter revenues of 1 per cent to £3.684m from $3.698m during the same period the year before.


The company will now be focussing on its drug repositioning business that brought in revenues of $841,000 during the third quarter - compared with $6000 in the same period during the previous year.


Key to the company's new strategy is its 'integrative pharmacology' programme that enables it to determine new therapeutic applications for drug candidates provided by partners that have failed clinical trials for reasons other than safety.


According to the company, it is currently looking for new indications for compounds from eight pharmaceutical companies, including Abbott, H. Lundbeck, Merck Serono, Organon, Pfizer, Roche, and Solvay.


This service could enable drug manufacturers to reduce the overly high drug attrition rates currently seen by the industry and help reduce the losses incurred when a compound fails to make the grade as a new therapeutic due to lack of efficacy.


The company saw its revenues for the quarter jump 22 per cent to $4.5m although it still made a loss of $7.9m.


However, that loss is a round a third of the $26.6m loss the company incurred during the same quarter last year.


The company also has a clinical-stage drug candidate in development, GL1001, for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). If approved, the drug will address an under-served market that is estimated to be worth in excess of $1bn.


Gene Logic's new direction somewhat mirrors Curagen's sale of its 454 Life Sciences sequencing division to Roche to focus on the development of drugs that target genes discovered using the technology.


Coupled with Roche's acquisition of microarray provider NimbleGen and the proposed closure of Nanogen's microarray business, the genomics landscape appears to consolidating as smaller companies are gobbled up by pharmaceutical and large life science firms.

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