WarrZone Archive 1999

back to WarrZone


November 1, 1999

Argonaut and Symyx Sell Instruments for Combinatorial Chemistry

Argonaut Technologies and Symyx Technologies will collaborate to commercialise Symex technology for high throughput production and screening of materials. The first product offered will be an eight-cell continuous-stirred pressure reactor. Argonaut will develop, manufacture and distribute the new instruments world-wide. The two companies will share any profits.

Spotfire and Oxford Molecular Group Integrate Software

Oxford Molecular has worked with Spotfire to enable scientists and cheminformatics professionals to access biological activity and chemical structure data stored in RS³ for interactive exploration and analysis in Spotfire Structure Visualizer and Spotfire Pro. Researchers can access RS³ data via a version of Spotfire Structure Visualizer developed specifically for use with RS³. Spotfire Structure Visualizer for RS³ and Spotfire Pro together enable researchers to analyse interactively chemical and biological data in the same session and share their results and recommendations via the Web.

Oxford Molecular launches RS³ Discovery for Excel

Oxford Molecular has launched a new application that enables Microsoft Excel to be used as a query and reporting tool for the company's RS³ Discovery and RS³ Discovery HTS Servers. RS³ Discovery for Excel uses standard Excel features, allowing users to analyse, visualise, print and report information.

Cambridge Combinatorial Announces Name Change

Cambridge Combinatorial Ltd has announced that in future it will trade under the name of Cambridge Discovery Chemistry, which more accurately reflects the breadth of the Company's business and scientific expertise.

Alliance of Cambridge Discovery Chemistry and Lancaster Synthesis

Cambridge Discovery Chemistry has entered into a strategic alliance with Lancaster Synthesis. The agreement is aimed at the development of novel monomers and building blocks but will also give Cambridge Discovery Chemistry access to Lancaster's proven expertise in chemical synthesis scale-up. Cambridge Discovery Chemistry and Lancaster will work initially with a select consortium of pharmaceutical companies and offer the monomers on an exclusive basis. Following the period of exclusivity, selected monomers will become available through the Lancaster catalogue.

News from LHASA Ltd

To reflect its growing international customer base, LHASA UK formally changed its name to LHASA Limited during the course of 1998. LHASA Limited's new Windows-based product, DEREK for Windows (DfW) is on schedule to be released in time for the new millennium. This new product will provide a desktop application for hazard identification that is compatible with Windows 95 and NT. The company, a pioneer in the production of knowledge-based systems for chemists and toxicologists, is also developing METEOR, a PC-based system for metabolism prediction. METEOR is designed to be used either stand alone or integrated with DEREK for Windows. At the 1999 Annual General Meeting, Dr. Jim Redpath was elected as Chair of the LHASA Limited board of directors and Dr Robert Rees of SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals was elected as Deputy Chair.

Intranet International 2000: a New Conference Announced

A new conference being launched by Infonortics will focus on the field of intranets. Intranet International 2000 will last for two days and feature approximately twenty speakers, with pre-conference workshops before the start of the meeting. The venue will be The Hague in The Netherlands; the dates are 5-7 June 2000.

Annual General Meeting of the Pharma Documentation Ring

The Pharma Documentation Ring (PDR) held its 41st Annual General Meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark from the 29th September to the 1st October 1999. The PDR is an association whose members represent the scientific information departments of the leading R&D-based pharmaceutical corporations. The theme of this year's meeting was "The Intranet - The Second Generation". External speakers from Verity, Autonomy, IHS Dataware, and Derwent Information gave presentations. Further details are available on the Web site.

Roche, Parke-Davis and Ribotargets Award Additional Contracts To Biofocus

BioFocus has negotiated second contracts with Roche, Parke-Davis Neuroscience Research Centre, and Ribotargets. Each contract is for the generation of new, high quality drug discovery libraries specific to the requirements of the client companies. BioFocus will be partly or wholly responsible for the design of the compounds within the libraries and will carry out all chemistry development and final library syntheses. No financial details have been disclosed although the compounds will be for the exclusive use of the individual companies.

Annual Reports in Combinatorial Chemistry and Molecular Diversity

Volume 2 of Annual Reports in Combinatorial Chemistry and Molecular Diversity, edited by Michael R. Pavia and Walter H. Moos, has been published by Kluwer Academic Publishers.

ChemConnect Announces Successful Second Round of Capital Funding

ChemConnect, the global Internet exchange for all types of chemicals, has announced a successful second round of capital funding totalling $30 million. Co-leads were Weiss, Peck & Greer and Goldman Sachs. ChemConnect's original capital partner, Institutional Venture Partners also participated, as did Chemical and Materials Enterprise Associates Ventures and Highland Capital Ventures.

Beilstein Abstracts Now Free of Charge to Members of ChemWeb.com

A Web-based version of Beilstein Abstracts is now available to members of ChemWeb.com, the worldwide Club for the Chemical Community, free of charge. Members of ChemWeb.com will have unrestricted use of Beilstein's Web-based application, which provides access to titles, abstracts and authors from the organic chemical literature. There are currently over 600,000 articles in the Beilstein Abstracts database (formerly known as NetFire).

ChemWeb Launches Catalysis Forum

ChemWeb has announced the launch of the Catalysis Chemistry Forum on ChemWeb.com. Catalysis.Chemistry Forum will enable ChemWeb.com members to focus directly on this specialist area of chemistry. It is a new virtual community for members, within the existing ChemWeb.com community. It is designed to help the user find relevant information more quickly, such as jobs, the conference diary, or journal articles. It promotes the exchange of ideas between chemists throughout the world, via the discussion groups, or simply by email contact between members. Topical news and reviews from The Alchemist, the ChemWeb.com online magazine are also available.

New Version of Marvin Java Applets

Version 2.1 of the Marvin Java applets for drawing and displaying chemical structures in HTML pages is released and can now be tried and downloaded. A new paper showing features is on the Web. Marvin is free for free Internet sites. Marvin can be integrated with Jchem, a new Java based system for searching and handling chemical structures on the Web or intranets.

Latest Issue in the "Current Trends" Series

Current Patents Ltd have announced the publication of Approaches to Treatment of Obesity and Nutritional Disease, the latest issue in the Current Trends in Pharmaceutical Discovery series.


September 3, 1999

Collaboration Between CAS and HighWire Press

As a standard feature of Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) search tools, including SciFinder, SciFinder Scholar, STN Express with Discover!, STN Easy and the new STN on the Web, the ChemPort Connection enables researchers who have found relevant document references in CAS databases to view or acquire the associated articles in the publishers' full-text journals or in patent documents at the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and esp@cenet, the European Patent office Web site.

A new collaboration between CAS and Stanford University's HighWire Press will significantly expand researchers' ability to identify relevant scientific literature and access full-text on the Web. The agreement with HighWire Press will ultimately increase the set of participating journals in ChemPort to well over 700. Among the well respected HighWire publications already available through the ChemPort Connection are the British Medical Journal, FASEB Journal and Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Editor Appointed for Biomacromolecules

ACS has appointed Ann-Christine Albertsson, professor of polymer technology at the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, as editor of Biomacromolecules, the new ACS journal to begin publication next spring. Biomacromolecules will focus on research at the interface of polymer science and the biological sciences.

New Editor for Chemistry & Industry

The Society of Chemical Industry has appointed Alex Crawford as Editor of Chemistry & Industry. Crawford previously edited Laboratory News and Health and Safety at Work, and, most recently, CORDIS News, the European Commission's daily online service on research and development.

DataStar WebCharts

The Information Services Division of The Dialog Corporation has launched DataStar WebCharts, a new tabular display feature on DataStar aimed at helping users in the pharmaceutical sector to create tabular charts from their search results. Available free of charge to both new and existing DataStar customers, the WebCharts software is fully integrated into DataStar Web and will considerably reduce the time required to prepare reports manually. Users download and install the free WebCharts software from the Dialog Corporation Website. They will also be automatically prompted with the option of loading the software while they are using DataStar Web. When the software is installed, users click on the records they wish to select, then select "WebCharts" from the "Display" option and a chart is created instantly.

Latest Version of MOE

Chemical Computing Group has released Molecular Operating Environment version 1999.05. The environment comprises four application categories: High Throughput Discovery; Protein Modelling and 3-D Bioinformatics; Molecular Modelling and Simulation; and finally Methodology Development and Corporate Deployment.

CombiChem Announces TargetStar

CombiChem has announced TargetStar, a collaborative discovery service that helps pharmaceutical researchers decide which biological targets should be pursued in drug development. TargetStar employs CombiChem's proprietary design and analysis software to evaluate the results of screening version 2.0 of its Universal Informer Library (UIL) against a number of targets. Predictive models (hypotheses) are generated for each target based on active and inactive compounds from the UIL. Biological targets are then prioritised based on the likelihood that the screening results can be used to identify drug-like compounds. The UIL comprises 13,000 compounds that have been chosen to maximise the information obtained from biological screening. Representative hypotheses and example "hits" are shared as part of the analysis.

New Catalytic-based Combinatorial Discovery Services Planned

Catalytica Advanced Technologies and CombiChem have formed a joint venture to provide catalytic-based combinatorial discovery services to the material and process industries. The two companies will combine their respective proprietary and patented technologies in the joint venture to enable rapid screening of catalysts and evaluation of processes and products that are designed to optimise the manufacture of a wide variety of important industrial products.

Proteomics Products Launched

Incyte Pharmaceuticals and Oxford GlycoSciences have launched a suite of proteomics database products and a related protein analysis software package. PathoProgram provides gene expression data from thousands of uniquely identified and characterised proteins. The identification, selection and validation of drug-screening targets and human disease-related protein therapeutics are performed by LifeProgram, while PharmacoProgram aims to provide new ways to understand toxicology at the molecular level. The protein analysis software package is LifeProt, which provides a platform for the integration of proteomics data with data relating to genomic RNA expression, and stores, retrieves and mines protein data.

ChemConnect Announces Second Round of Capital Funding

ChemConnect has announced a successful second round of capital funding totalling $30 million. Co-leads were Weiss, Peck & Greer and Goldman Sachs. ChemConnect's original capital partner, Institutional Venture Partners also participated, as did Chemical and Materials Enterprise Associates Ventures and Highland Capital Ventures. ChemConnect is the Internet's largest global chemical electronic marketplace, providing an open, neutral market for chemical manufacturers, buyers and intermediaries to conduct real-time, online transactions for all types of chemicals. Founded in 1995, ChemConnect hosts billions of dollars in transactions and provides industry news and information for thousands of customers world-wide.

Zeneca Specialties Renamed Avecia, Acquires Boston Biosystems

Avecia is the new name for the former Zeneca Specialties business following the completion of the buyout from AstraZeneca, jointly financed by Cinven and Investcorp. Avecia is one of Europe's most profitable specialty chemical companies, with sales of $1.1 billion and operating profits of $150 million last year. Avecia has recently acquired Boston Biosystems, of Bedford, Massachusetts for $6 million.

DuPont-Structural Bioinformatics Alliance

DuPont Pharmaceuticals and Structural Bioinformatics have announced a strategic alliance. DuPont will pay SBI more than $100 million for access to SBI's DynaPharm protein structure analysis software and expertise. The two companies will use the software to study protein signalling.

Pharmacia & Upjohn to Buy Sugen

Pharmacia & Upjohn has purchased Sugen, a US-based biotechnology company, for $650m (£404m) in stock. Sugen currently has three anti-cancer drugs in clinical development: SU101, which inhibits the platelet-derived growth factor receptor signalling pathway; SU5416, an angiogenesis inhibitor; and SU6668, a broad spectrum inhibitor. AstraZeneca has agreed to vote its 20 per cent shareholding in Sugen in favour of the deal with Pharmacia & Upjohn. AstraZeneca will receive Pharmacia & Upjohn shares worth $94m.

Abbott to Purchase Alza

Abbott Laboratories is to acquire California-based Alza, a pharmaceutical development and drug delivery company, in a deal worth $7300m (£4700m). Alza employs approximately 2000 people and markets products in the fields of urology and oncology. The company enhanced its position in the oncology market when it acquired Sequus Pharmaceuticals in March this year. The companies had combined sales of $674m and profits of $108m in 1998.

Roche and Trimeris Sign Deal

Roche has signed a deal with Trimeris, a US biotechnology company, to develop a new generation of anti-HIV drugs called fusion inhibitors. Trimeris has two compounds in early stage clinical trials and it says that these are showing a potent anti-HIV effect.

Perkin-Elmer Now PE Corporation

In April the company was reorganised as PE Corporation, and two new common stocks were issued: PE Biosystems Group, with the New York Stock Exchange symbol PEB, and Celera Genomics Group, with the New York Stock Exchange Symbol CRA. The acquisition of Perkin-Elmer's Analytical Instruments Division by EG&G Instruments was completed on June 1 1999. The Analytical Instruments Division will now be known as Perkin-Elmer LLC.


July 19, 1999

Celltech Merger with Chiroscience Group

Celltech and Chiroscience Group have agreed terms for a merger of their businesses. The merged company, Celltech Chiroscience will be one of the largest biopharmaceutical companies in Europe, with over 400 research and development staff and current combined annual research and development expenditure of some £51 million. The merger offer will be made on the basis of 62 new Celltech shares for every 100 Chiroscience shares.

TerraGen Acquisitions

TerraGen changed its name to TerraGen Discovery in April. At about the same time, Xenova announced that it was selling its Xenova Discovery subsidiary to TerraGen Diversity in a deal worth up to £5m. TerraGen will acquire Xenova Discovery's fermentation, compound isolation and characterisation, assay development and high throughput screening businesses, its collection of rare micro-organisms, its NatChem libraries and the UK facilities, while assuming responsibility for the active lead compound collaborations with Warner-Lambert/Parke-Davis and with Bristol-Myers Squibb. Xenova will retain certain rights and royalties to products discovered by Xenova Discovery, as well as access to its technologies. Earlier this year TerraGen acquired the assets of ChromaXome Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of Trega Biosciences, for $6.5 million. TerraGen and ChromaXome have complementary expertise and technologies for drug discovery in the emerging field of combinatorial biosynthesis.

Zeneca Specialties

AstraZeneca has agreed to sell its speciality chemical business for £1300m in a leveraged buyout jointly financed by the UK equity firm Cinven and the international investment group, Investcorp. Zeneca Specialities' businesses include biocides, industrial colours, life science molecules, performance and intermediate chemicals, resins and Stahl leather products. The sale involves the world-wide business of Zeneca Specialties, including the resin and Novacote businesses. The manufacturing operations at Grangemouth in Scotland and Huddersfield in Yorkshire will transfer with the business but Zeneca Agrochemicals' plants at these sites will remain part of AstraZeneca for the moment, as will Marlow foods.

Patenting of Combinatorial Chemistry

Current Patents Ltd. has announced the latest issue in the Current Trends in Pharmaceutical Discovery series entitled Patenting of Combinatorial Chemistry, published in June 1999. This report focuses on the innovative activity of multinationals and non-industrial researchers in the field of combinatorial chemistry. Over 900 patent applications relating to combinatorial chemistry published between 1990 and 1998 have been included in this analysis. The report shows the industry's top innovators and the interesting mix of specialist companies which dominate the field. There are also detailed company profiles of the top 19 patentees, and inventor-links and co-patenting are explored. Additionally this issue includes an update on patenting activity in serotonin research. The study explores the evolution of selective serotonin modulators, and in particular, the relationships between pharmacological mechanisms and medical indications. Major clinical indications are analysed in detail and the companies leading the field are profiled.

Therapeutic Antibodies to Merge with Proteus

Therapeutic Antibodies has agreed to merge with Proteus International. Some industry sources have reported this as Proteus rescuing Therapeutic Antibodies (Tab), which is within months of running out of money. Proteus is offering 1.163 shares for each Tab share and, if completed, the transaction will create a group with a combined market capitalisation of around £63m. The merger is, however, still subject to the companies' shareholders' approval. Shareholder meetings are expected in August 1999.

ComGenex Procures CE mark for MultiReactor

ComGenex's combinatorial chemistry instrumental department, RoboSynthon, has announced its procurement of the CE mark for its MultiReactor parallel reactor blocks. The MultiReactor is a 24-simultaneous workstation synthesiser for solid and solution phase synthesis. ComGenex was reportedly the first company in its branch of industry to be awarded ISO 9001 certification for all aspects of its operations. As a division of ComGenex's operation, RoboSynthon is ISO 9001 certified in its design, manufacturing and sales management.

ComGenex and Rhône-Poulenc Agro Establish Combinatorial Chemistry Collaboration

ComGenex has signed a second major collaboration with Rhône-Poulenc Agro to co-design and supply libraries of new, novel substances. The collaboration constitutes three supply sections to generate more than a million dollars for ComGenex. For the collaboration, ComGenex will utilise its proprietary in-house technologies, design and synthesis competencies to produce novel combinatorial chemistry libraries. The two companies will establish a committee to govern the design and supply of libraries for Rhône-Poulenc's research programme.

Organic Letters Web Edition Goes Live

Organic Letters, the American Chemical Society's new Web and print periodical designed to deliver rapid, brief reports on significant research in organic chemistry, went live on Monday, May 17th. This Web edition precedes the print edition, due July 1999, by more than six weeks. ACS is granting free access to the Web Edition through September 30, 1999.


May 28, 1999

MDL Acquires Interactive Simulations

MDL Information Systems has acquired the assets of Interactive Simulations, thus broadening MDL's range of decision support tools for drug design and chemical research. MDL says that the location of Interactive Simulations in San Diego will contribute to MDL's efforts to locate personnel in key customer locales to improve the company's understanding of its customers' needs. The two companies had an earlier partnership in which they integrated Interactive Simulations' SCULPT, a system for visualising real-time, dynamic molecular interactions, with MDL's Chemscape, a Web-based solution for retrieving and displaying "animated" chemical structures from compound databases.

The SCULPT 3D structure visualisation software enables scientists to study the shapes and movements of molecules, often by watching animations of pre-computed simulations. It uses a new computational technology that executes molecular simulations over 100 times faster than other commercially available products. As a result, molecular mechanics run in real time, even for large molecules such as proteins, permitting scientists to see the effects of their actions instantly, with the hands-on feel of bending and twisting a physical model.

InfoChem's SPRESI Structural and Reaction Databases Now Live on ChemWeb.com

ChemWeb Inc. and InfoChem GmbH have launched InfoChem's SPRESI structural and reaction databases on ChemWeb.com. These will be among the largest chemical databases on the Internet. Access to the databases is free to ChemWeb.com members until June 30th, 1999.

InfoChem's SPRESI databases comprise data abstracted widely from the world's chemical literature. The data, made available to the West by InfoChem since 1991, were gathered between 1975 and 1991 by the All-Union Institute of Science and Technical Information of the Academy of Science of the USSR (VINITI) in Moscow, and the Central Information Processing for Chemistry (ZIC) in Berlin. The SPRESI structural database contains 3.3 million organic and organometallic compounds and data, 630,000 stereoisomers and over 3 million journal article references. The reaction database derived from SPRESI includes 2.5 million reactions of which 250,000 reactions were taken from patents. Agreement has recently been reached with VINITI to update the databases with data from 1992 to 1996, and thereafter on a continual basis.

The SPRESI structural database will be searchable with DAYLIGHT's software while reactions will be accessible through InfoChem's Synthesis Tree Search (STS) and Reaction Type Searching (RTS) software. For query input, a Java applet developed by Peter Ertl (Novartis) is being used.

ChemWeb.com members may search the databases and view the list of results of these searches free of charge. From July 1999, access to the record, including citation, is chargeable.

BASF and Symyx Sign Collaboration

BASF Aktiengesellschaft and Symyx Technologies, Inc. have initiated a strategic collaboration to apply combinatorial materials science to the identification of specialty polymers for use in industrial formulations. Under the terms of the two-year partnership, Symyx will receive $4 million in research payments as well as payments from products resulting from the collaboration.

New MAG Software Annotates Affymetrix Gene Expression Data, Thus Speeding Gene Function Prediction

Molecular Applications Group (MAG) has completed development of the first component of its Stingray Expression Analysis System. This component, called Stingray GeneMine, effectively combines Affymetrix, Inc.'s GeneChip Data Mining Tool (DMT), a package for expression analysis, with MAG's GeneMine, a standalone software product that employs both public and MAG proprietary algorithms to evaluate gene sequence, structure and function.

Using Stingray GeneMine, researchers with Affymetrix tools will have access to annotations for over 6000 genes on the Affymetrix HuGeneFL (human) and MU6500 (mouse) arrays, providing insight on more than 12,000 genes in total. An annotation or "workup" provides homology, structural domain, functional motif, and other information about a gene product. Researchers typically require as long as a day to analyse and annotate comprehensively the sequence of a gene of interest but with Stingray GeneMine they will be able to access those workups in 5 to 10 seconds, claims MAG, so that researchers will be able to examine hundreds of genes on the fly in the same time frame, enabling them to narrow down their list of potential targets far more rapidly.

Synopsys Accord DataCartridge Module for Oracle

Synopsys Scientific Systems has announced a new Accord DataCartridge module for Oracle 8, the Accord/Universal Server for Oracle 8. With this product, chemistry is transformed into a first-class SQL datatype, searchable alongside numbers and text, directly within the Oracle8 database server. Complex issues such as query optimisation, index lookups and backup/recovery are all taken care of by the underlying object-relational database engine.


May 10, 1999

ChiroChem Discovery Services Announces Portfolio of Chiral Compounds

The first product offering of ChiroChem Discovery Services is a portfolio of four chiral chemical libraries called the ChiroChem Codex, and this will be marketed to customers in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and agriculture industries. ChiroChem is a 50-50 joint venture between CombiChem and ChiroTech Technology which markets computationally designed libraries of single-isomer chiral compounds. ChiroTech generates core scaffold structures and CombiChem uses its computational expertise to identify substituents that can be attached to those scaffolds to create drug-like molecules. The first four libraries, available in July 1999, will be based on (-)-lactam and (+)-lactam derived scaffolds developed by ChiroTech.

CombiChem and Chromagen Sign Agreement

CombiChem and Chromagen have signed an assay development and drug screening agreement under which Chromagen will develop biological assays for screening CombiChem's chemical libraries. In return, Chromagen will receive research support and a percentage of payments received by CombiChem upon the licensing of drug candidates to pharmaceutical companies.

CuraGen and Roche Sign Pharmacogenomics Agreement

CuraGen and Hoffmann-La Roche have signed a two-year R&D collaboration focused on the discovery of new drug targets and pharmacogenomics. CuraGen will use its pharmacogenomic technology platforms to evaluate current drug candidates and will provide Roche with access to its gene expression and gene sequence databases.

Thetagen Acquires Drug Discovery Services

Thetagen has acquired Drug Discovery Services from MDS Panlabs, forming a new Thetagen division, Integrated Discovery, which will offer lead discovery support services such as synthetic, medicinal and combinatorial chemistry design and synthesis, analytical chemistry, natural products chemistry and natural product organism and extract supply.

Chemical Hazards Communication Society E-mail Forum

The Chemical Hazards Communication Society (CHCS) now has an e-mail forum which is open to both members and non-members of CHCS. To join this forum send an e-mail with the subject line saying "forum join" and with your name and affiliation in the body of your e-mail. There is no charge but to see the questions and answers you must join the forum. There is no confidentiality; questions and their answers are public information.

Green Chemistry Network

The Royal Society of Chemistry recently launched the Green Chemistry Network (GCN), based at York University. This network aims to promote awareness and facilitate education, training and the practice of "Green Chemistry" in industry, universities and schools. Green Chemistry includes concepts such as the use of alternative and sustainable feedstocks, waste minimisation, solvent reduction and intensive processing. The first issue of the Green Chemistry Journal was published at the end of February. It contains conventional refereed articles as well as news and reviews for the non-specialist.

New Board Appointments at Synopsys

Synopsys Scientific Systems have announced the promotion of Dr. Julian Hayward to the position of Technical Director and Dr. Keith Harrington to the position of Geographic Sales and Marketing Director. Synopsys has also appointed Dr. Bob Grantham as a Director and Non-Executive Chairman. Drs. Hayward and Harrington joined Synopsys on its foundation in 1992; Dr. Hayward was previously Database Marketing Manager and was responsible for Synopsys' Combinatorial Chemistry initiative. Dr. Harrington was previously USA Sales and Marketing Manager and was responsible for developing sales in this region to account for over 40% of the company's turnover in the last two years.

UKOLUG Moves Web Site

The UK Online Users Group, UKOLUG has moved its Web site to a different service provider and it now has its own domain name. http://www.ukolug.org.uk

Sandra Ward Joins TFPL

Sandra Ward has joined TFPL as Executive Director and Head of a new Information Management Group which combines the skills and resources of the consultancy and professional development divisions of the company.


April 9, 1999

New Web Site for Chemical Design

Chemical Design has a new web site. The site also has a new area devoted to Collaborative Discovery which includes updated information on research partners and on the management team driving the programmes. It is hoped that this area will continue to expand, reflecting the growing contribution of Collaborative Discovery to the company's business.

CS Catalyst Becomes ChemNews.Com

ChemNews.Com exists in four different variants; a quarterly print publication, a CD-ROM version with chemistry software demos, a Web edition available in English, French, German and Japanese and a monthly e-mail newsletter.

Adept Science WebStore

Adept Science has recently made its WebStore easier to use. Users enter an email address to log in and can then see the prices of Adept's whole product range, and print out a customised quotation. A new version of of Axum, Axum 6, for creating publication-quality graphs is now available. Currently on special offer at almost half price is the new Mathcad 8 Technical Professional Suite which bundles Axum 6 and Mathcad 8 Professional with a leading 2D CAD package and the Mathcad 8 Treasury. New to Adept Science's product line is SoftwareWedge for collecting data from any laboratory or industrial instrument with a serial port. It ports data straight into a spreadsheet, database, statistical analysis, process control or LIMS application. The latest issue of Technical Computing magazine is also on-line.

ComGenex and Bayer: Combinatorial Chemistry Agreement

ComGenex, has concluded an agreement to design and supply libraries of new, potentially bioactive substances to Bayer. The substances will be used for applications in the drug, animal health and crop protection fields, for screening and development purposes, and for the possible future marketing of end products.

During the three-year collaboration period, a joint steering committee will oversee the design of libraries for Bayer's biological testing programme. The collaboration also involves the establishment of new technologies to optimise production of the compounds by ComGenex. ComGenex will receive a substantial up-front payment as part of this supply agreement worth some $ 2.4 million in total. In addition to regular payments for the delivery of libraries under this agreement, ComGenex will receive up to $6.5 million in milestone payments for compounds reaching certain stages of development. Royalties will also be paid under certain circumstances for compounds entering the market.

ComGenex supplies novel, "drug-like" molecules, which are all designed in-house and synthesised using the company's own proprietary technology. With its sister company, ComGenex International, Inc. with offices in Princeton, New Jersey and South San Francisco, California, ComGenex claims to be the first company in its branch of industry to be awarded ISO 9001 certification for all aspects of its operations.

Bioreason Signs Software Development Agreement With Parke-Davis

Bioreason, Inc. has announced a software development collaboration with the Parke-Davis Pharmaceutical Research Division of Warner-Lambert Company for Bioreason's first commercial software system, LeadFinder. The system automatically generates pharmaceutical knowledge about new drug leads from high-throughput screening data and provides automated decision support for medicinal chemists in identifying activity mechanisms of new drug leads.

Bioreason, Inc. is an information technology company in the drug discovery business. Combining proprietary technology in data handling and knowledge-based reasoning with existing and novel methods in chemoinformatics and molecular modeling, Bioreason partners with biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies to increase the speed and certainty of the drug discovery process. The company's founders, Dr. John W. Elling, President, and Dr. Susan I. Bassett, Chief Science Officer, have backgrounds in automated laboratory data interpretation, knowledge-based reasoning systems, neural networks, and knowledge extraction from data mining.

New Deals for Symyx

The Dow Chemical Company and Symyx Technologies, Inc. have entered into a 3 year, $18 million strategic collaboration to develop polyolefin catalysts using combinatorial materials science. The collaboration will be primarily directed towards the identification of new catalyst systems for the production of a wide range of plastic products. Under the terms of the three year partnership, Symyx will receive the full $18 million in research payments and fees, as well as royalties from polyolefin products sales resulting from the collaboration. Dow will obtain world-wide rights to broad families of polyolefin products, and the option to acquire, under separate terms, specific high-throughput Symyx Discovery Tools for use in its laboratories.

Bayer and Symyx have signed an agreement to increase their current research collaboration in the field of combinatorial materials science from $52 million to $68 million. The collaboration is focused on the use of combinatorial chemistry to discover and develop new catalysts, polymers and electronics materials. Under the terms of the expanded partnership, Symyx will receive up to $58 million in research payments, including $30 million in guaranteed funding. Symyx will also receive royalties from products commercialised under this agreement. The new portion of the collaboration is a three-year agreement focused on the development of single-site catalysts using combinatorial methodologies, primarily to identify new catalyst systems for the production of a wide range of new polymers.

Symyx has also been awarded one Phase II grant from a Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Program funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, and two grants from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) through the Office of Naval Research (ONR), funded by the Department of Defense. Totalling approximately $4.5 million, these grants will be used to fund the application of the company's proprietary combinatorial methodologies to the discovery of new fuel cell, thermoelectric and permanent magnet materials.

A. Kos Consulting & Solutions Founded

After 15 years with MDL Information Systems,Alex Kos is embarking on a new career, although he will continue marketing MDL products in Eastern Europe and Israel. Alex has founded a company in Switzerland, A. Kos Consulting & Solutions. He is also involved in another company Material Science International Services, GmbH which provides data, software products, tools and services which support the development of new materials. A colleague of Alex's, Dusan Toman of Dimension5, has developed a software package called DataMiner to visualise all sorts of data. He will continue to market MDL products in the Slovak Republic.


March 26, 1999

Hewlett Packard Announces Split

Hewlett Packard is to split into two independently managed companies, one, which will not use the Hewlett Packard name, focusing on measurement and the other, bearing the HP name, concentrating on computing. The new measurement company (which is unlikely to be operating under its new name before next year) will incorporate test-and-measurement, components, chemical analysis and medical business interests. The Hewlett Packard company will cover enterprise computing systems, software and services, personal computer, printing and imaging sectors.

Full Text of Patents Through Espacenet

In February, the European Patent Office enhanced its Espacenet service by offering facsimile images of some15 Terabytes of patent data on the Internet. The world-wide database corresponds to all documents available to EPO examiners: complete patent documents for publications since about 1975 but bibliographic information only for older documents. Sixty-three countries are covered.

Medical Information on the Internet

The second edition of Medical Information on the Internet, by Robert Kiley of the Wellcome Trust, will be available in paperback from Harcourt Brace, in April 1999, cost £17.

Sagian Introduces SAMI NT

Sagian, a division of Beckman Coulter, has introduced SAMI NT, a graphical assay development tool for automated laboratory systems. Additional features in this new version of the SAMI software include an optimising scheduler to improve sample throughput and "one look" sample history viewing. Pooling, splitting, recombining and batch processing of samples are also supported.

Deal between IRORI and Ontogen

IRORI and Ontogen have signed a deal covering Ontogen's two patents relating to the radiofrequency tagging of chemical libraries. IRORI will have exclusive rights to the patents but Ontogen retains commercial rights to use the technologies internally.

Universal Language System for Internet

A Universal Networking Language (UNL) is being developed at the United Nations University in Tokyo. UNL is an intermediary that will be transparent to all languages. Text is entered into a computer in one language and is converted into UNL, which can be read in any other supported language. UNL versions of the 12 most common languages should be completed this year. By 2005 the system should support all 3000 languages spoken by members of the United Nations.

Forecast for World's Chemical Markets

The UK Chemical Industries Association, extrapolating from 1996 figures on world chemical demand, output and trade, predicts positive economic growth in the long term across all the world's major regions, despite the difficult short-term outlook. The report, Main World Chemical Markets by Geographic Area 1996-2010, is available from the CIA in London at a cost of £250.

News from the European Information Industry

DGD is changing its name to DGI, the German Association for Information Science and Information Practice. This is to give more emphasis to "information", as opposed to documentation. The International Federation for Information and Documentation (FID) has appointed Stephen Parker, a British national living in The Netherlands, as Executive Director. Ross Shimmon, Chief Executive of the Library Association is to take over the helm at IFLA, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions.


February 22, 1999

Current Drugs Launches New Journal

Current Drugs has launched a new bimonthly review journal, Current Opinion in Molecular Therapeutics, covering all aspects of research into molecular medicines. Topics covered include viral and non-viral gene transfer methods, design and development of oligonucleotides, clinical applications of gene therapy, vaccine technology, and genomics and proteomics. The Editors-in-Chief are Kenneth W. Culver of Novartis Pharmaceuticals and Ernst Wagner of Boehringer Ingelheim.

Cost of Bringing a Drug to Market

The cost of bringing a drug to market has almost doubled since 1982, according to a new study by the UK Office of Health Economics. The cost has reportedly risen, in real terms, from $320 million to $600 million.

New Appointment at Oxford Glycosciences

Andrew Lyall has been appointed Chief Information Officer at Oxford GlycoSciences (OGS). He joins OGS from Glaxo Wellcome where he served as Head of Advanced Technology and Informatics.

Warner Lambert Buys Agouron

Warner-Lambert Company is to acquire Agouron Pharmaceuticals in a share exchange agreement which is valued at approximately $2.1 billion. Through this transaction, Warner-Lambert will markedly augment its new product pipeline and will significantly expand its presence in important therapeutic areas such as anti-virals and oncology. In addition to gaining access to several promising late-stage compounds, the acquisition immediately provides Warner-Lambert with the market leading protease inhibitor for the treatment of HIV in adults and children, Viracept (nelfinavir mesylate). In the medium term, the Agouron aquisition should help Warner-Lambert when its patents on Rezulin and Lipitor expire (in 2008 and 2010). This merger is also intended to strengthen Warner Lambert's R&D capabilities through access to complementary technologies such as structure-based drug design. (Agouron owns Alanex, which also has strengths in this area.) Agouron will gain global reach in development and commercial infrastructure, which is of particular importance with several new product launches anticipated in the next few years. Agouron will also benefit from additional resources that will permit it to expand its innovative approach to rational drug design. Agouron employs more than 1000 people of whom approximately 700 are engaged in research and development. Warner-Lambert employs more than 40,000 people worldwide.


January 8, 1999

RSC Wins Award

The Royal Society of Chemistry has won Best Stand Award at Online Information 98, the world's largest electronic information exhibition. Presenting the award, Sissel Hafstad (President of EIRENE, the European Information Researchers Network) praised the open and inviting design of the stand and its use of symbolism to achieve maximum impact on a modest budget. The stand had a giant "smoking" flask with a slogan "Solutions for the future".

News from ID Business Solutions

ID Business Solutions has released ActivityBase 3.2, the latest version of its discovery data management system, and an enhanced Object Manager (version 1.1). The company has also announced that it is going to provide chemical storage capabilities as part of the ActivityBase environment. There is a common interface for biological and chemical data with this new technology and it will be possible to store and search molecules, reactions and libraries (product based or reaction based), within a single database schema and combine this data with biological data generated through screening activities. Through the common biology and chemistry interface, researchers will be able to interrogate assay results, mine a database for molecules containing a particular substructure, or design a combinatorial library using generic reactions. Integration of biological and chemical data will enable complex cross discipline queries to be run.

IDBS plans to support organic, polymer and organometallic chemistry (and salts of organic compounds), and claims that it will extend chemical representation beyond that currently supported by other software vendors. In particular, the number of chemistry descriptors will be increased to support enhanced stereochemical handling and bond types such as hydrogen and co-ordinate bonds. IDBS currently has a molecule registration capability available as an add-in to ActivityBase. This registration module can "hook in" to third party databases such as MDL's ISIS for storing and retrieving structures. IDBS is proposing a series of phased releases for the new software. The first phase of chemistry component technology is to be incorporated into ActivityBase 4.0, scheduled for release in the second quarter of 1999.

Current Drugs Unveils 1999 Plans

Current Drugs will publish six new titles in the Current Opinion series in 1999: Current Opinion in Molecular Therapeutics, Current Opinion in Central and Peripheral Nervous System Investigational Drugs, Current Opinion in Anti-inflammatory and Immunomodulatory Investigational Drugs, Current Opinion in Cardiovascular, Pulmonary and Renal Investigational Drugs, Current Opinion in Anti-infective Investigational Drugs, and Current Opinion in Oncologic, Endocrine & Metabolic Investigational Drugs.

The company has unveiled plans for version 3.0 of IDdb. It will have new Alerts, Competitor Analysis, Library and Personalise sections, new facilities for searching and annotation, links to other Internet or intranet resources and a knowledge management environment for linking IDdb intelligence to a company's internal resources. Current Drugs has announced an alliance with the EMC Corporation of Massachusetts to provide its customers with an extranet service for the Investigational Drugs database. Both leaseline and virtual private network options will be on offer.

Current Drugs has also announced the forthcoming availability of DrugNet.com, a major new Internet-based service for the international pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. DrugNet.com will integrate specialist databases, decision support software and competitor intelligence services from a range of publishers and software vendors servicing the biomedical and pharmaceutical sector. It is thought that the product may be launched in the second quarter of 1999.

Handbook of Chemistry and Physics CRCnetBASE 1999

All the text and figures of the 79th edition of the Handbook of Chemistry and Physics are now available on CD-ROM as the Handbook of Chemistry and Physics CRCnetBASE 1999, ISBN 0-8493-9720-0, from CRC Press and Springer-Verlag.

The Advanced Internet Searcher's Handbook

This book, by Internet consultant Phil Bradley, is written for those who already use the Internet but want to gain access to further information through improved search techniques. It develops understanding of search engines and how they work, and introduces more complex online searching techniques. It also looks at gateways, virtual libraries, USENET groups and commercial databases on the Internet. It costs £29.95 and is published by the Library Association.

.This page last updated 9th April 2000