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Where’s the Money in Modeling?


Feb 15, 2006

Keith: What we’re really focused on as a company is developing a small number of partnerships and really growing vertically within them. I think that if you’re trying to sell technology, that technology business models in this space have a long history of failure. Unless you’re going to be a very broad-spectrum technology provider like an Amersham or a GE, I think you’re going to have serious issues.

John: So is it a milestone and fee-for-service collaboration business?

Keith:  Our particular focus is to develop our infrastructure and our capabilities working collaboratively with our pharmaceutical partners, and to apply that learning independently through independent programs where we’re working with smaller partners where we can have an ownership interest in compounds.

John:  And you participate in the IP?

Keith:  We participate in the IP. In fact, one of the key things when you’re identifying a mechanism is that you’re making an invention. When you identify a biomarker, you’re making an invention. That’s important IP in the development of a compound.

John:  Is it the same for Entelos?

Alex:  In terms of the kind of relationships with people, we’re happy to start small, but I think it works best for us and our partners if we can get into multiyear or even umbrella kind of agreements. When I say best for us and our partners it’s because, for example, under that kind of arrangement we’ve been able to do in-licensing kinds of evaluations. When that happens, people are on a very fast time track. We can’t be negotiating a new contract for how that’s going to happen.

I think Keith is right. I mean, we’re very willing with smaller groups that maybe can’t necessarily afford as much. We believe enough in our technology to be willing to share more of the risk of what might come out of it and in return do milestones or royalty kinds of arrangements. On the other hand, there are other people we’re [working] with that they just don’t do that. And so everything is cash upfront and there are no long-term milestone or royalty arrangements. I think you have to be flexible to do either, to be able to work with a broad range of partners.

John: Colin?

Colin:  At GNS we’re really focused on reducing this technology to practice, and with real compounds being from preclinical into clinical. That’s the only thing we’re focused on. We don’t want to make drugs. We don’t want to be a Millennium -- and it’s a great company -- in that we really end up focusing on making our own compounds down the road. We do fee-for-service and milestone type things with pharma partners. We’re not expecting pharma to share ownership of compounds like Keith and Alex described. The smaller biotech companies that can’t afford to -- they certainly don’t have systems biology units within them -- that’s where we see getting ownership interest in compounds, but that’s down the road. We care about making the science work. I think I’ve said this before; my view is we haven’t gotten to the place where we really know and have demonstrated the true value of this stuff.

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