Wurde schon 1999 empfohlen, mit dem Hinweis, daß die eigentliche Entwicklung des Wertes ab Mitte 2000 beginnt. Da werden wir noch einige Kursexplosionen erleben.
Partners in the Marketplace
For now, however, the undisputed champion of deal making is Millennium, which has raked in over \\$1 billion in financing from partners like Roche Holding AG, Eli Lilly & Co., Monsanto and Bayer AG.
The arrangements are exclusive only for specific diseases (or, in Monsanto`s case, for use in agricultural products), so Millennium remains free to pursue its own small-molecule drugs. It has also created subsidiaries for biotechnology drugs and for predictive medicine, like tests to identify genetic conditions showing a predisposition to diseases or adverse drug reactions.
Millennium`s executives don`t claim a lock on the intellectual property of the human genome, but their deal-making shows the value that drug makers see in the company`s work.
A year ago, for example, Bayer agreed to pay Millennium up to \\$460 million over five years for 225 of what the industry calls validated genetic targets -- that is, genes plus the accompanying biological data to show their relevance in areas like cardiovascular disease, cancer, osteoporosis, pain, liver fibrosis and viral infections. Targets that Bayer doesn`t choose for drug development revert to Millennium.
"We did a huge search before we went with Millennium," said Wolfgang Hartwig, Bayer`s executive vice president of pharmaceutical research. He said Bayer was attracted to Millennium`s continual refreshing of its technology and to its freedom from the encumbrances of exclusive deals.
Millennium sprawls around Cambridge in leased space, most of it near the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In its early days, the company made much of its connection to Lander and MIT`s genome center. But today, Lander`s role is more clearly advisory. The personalities who define the company are those of its chief executive, Mark Levin, a soft-spoken former venture capitalist, and his head deal maker and chief business officer, Steven H. Holtzman, a Rhodes Scholar with a degree in philosophy.
Levin tends not to make big claims, but he is building a big company, drawing on experiences early in his career at Genentech, the biotechnology pioneer, where he worked in process engineering in the mid-1980s.
"Genentech put in place the largest molecular biology lab in the world at the time," he said. "We`ve gone out and put together the largest critical mass in biotech today."
Later this year, Roche is expected to seek permission to begin trials of an anti-obesity drug developed from a genetic target supplied by Millennium. Becton Dickinson & Co. in Franklin Lakes, N.J., will soon offer a melanoma test using technology from Millennium`s predictive medicine unit.
But for all the depth and breadth of its science and technology, Millennium is conspicuously lacking a drug of its own in clinical trials.
"We`re developing genes and targets and leads," Levin said. "By the end of 1999, going into 2000, you will see us make additional acquisitions, and these acquisitions will take us into the clinic."
Analysts note that while Millennium has the cash and high-value shares to acquire a drug -- and many struggling biotech companies have drugs for sale -- the best drug prospects attract multiple bids, and there are many far larger companies out shopping.