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Gene Logic shareholders approve genomics assets sale

Gene Logic's shareholders approve both the sale of its genomics assets to Ocimum Biosolutions and the renaming of the company as Ore Pharmaceuticals

US-based drug developer Gene Logic has revealed that its shareholders have approved both the sale of its genomics assets to Ocimum Biosolutions and the renaming of the company as Ore Pharmaceuticals.

The shareholder vote and completion of the sale of the Genomics Assets expected later this week would launch Ore Pharmaceuticals as a new company focused on drug repositioning and development. The companyís stock will continue to trade on the NASDAQ exchange and its stock ticker will change to ORXE. Ownership of the name Gene Logic will transfer to Ocimum on the date of closing of the sale agreement.

Ore will reposition clinical-stage drug candidates, which have stalled in development for reasons other than safety. The company obtains these drug candidates from its pharmaceutical partners and applies its proprietary integrative pharmacology programme to determine new potential therapeutic indications to enable its partners to return such compounds to clinical development.

In most cases, Ore will be entitled to obtain development rights to repositioned drug candidates that its partners choose not to reinstate into development. The company already has GL1001, which has already demonstrated efficacy at relevant doses in in-vivo testing for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Roche infiltrates Ventana's board to speed takeover
Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche has revealed to its acquisition target company, Ventana, that it will elect directors to the latter company's board at its next annual general meeting.

Roche has now nominated four candidates for election to Ventana's board of directors at its next AGM, scheduled for June 2008

In a drawn out and acrimonious takeover battle the US-based diagnostics company Ventana has sent repeated letters to Roche which state that the USD 3bn offer was "grossly inadequate". Ventana is hoping to boost the value of the offer from the disputed USD 75 per share offer to a value closer to the USD 88 at which the shares currently trade.

By acquiring Ventana, Roche believes it will gain an edge over its oncology competitors, with the diagnostic tools aiding both the approval process and making it more likely that patients will be prescribed the drug if a positive test is recorded.

In November 2007, Roche asked Ventana to open its books it could "better understand the company's business prospects and the inherent value in companion diagnostics".

Dr Franz Humer, CEO of Roche, said: "We have taken this step, as required by Ventana's bylaws, because we are committed to pursuing the acquisition of Ventana. However we continue to prefer a negotiated transaction. All of our nominees have proven track records in their areas of expertise and if elected, we are confident that they will act in the best interests of Ventana stockholders by exploring all alternatives for maximising shareholder value."

12th December 2007

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