TIGR / HGS Funding Relationship Reaches Early Conclusion
June 24, 1997
ROCKVILLE, MD-- June 24, 1997 -- The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) and Human Genome Sciences, Inc. (HGS) (NASDAQ: HGSI) today announced that they have signed an agreement whereby HGS will cease future payments to TIGR in return for relinquishing rights to future work done by TIGR. While this ends the TIGR/HGS relationship, HGS will retain all rights to patents granted now or in the future on work by TIGR prior to this agreement. Additionally, TIGR agrees not to enter into commercial agreements for the next four years on selected therapeutic proteins (proteins used as drugs) and associated diagnostic tests in development by HGS. Furthermore, TIGR agrees to share with HGS any proceeds from all commercial agreements relating to human therapeutic proteins completed within the next two years. In exchange for this limited non-compete agreement, HGS has granted to TIGR and its non-commercial collaborators a research license for its prior work.
"The original TIGR/HGS agreement made history," said William A. Haseltine, Ph.D., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Human Genome Sciences. "Our agreement with TIGR marked the start of the genomic revolution in biotechnology. It was the biggest agreement ever signed between a biotechnology company and a research institute. It paved the way for HGS' $125 million agreement in genomic research with SmithKline Beecham a few months later, still the largest deal between a major pharmaceutical company and a biotechnology company. The agreement with TIGR immediately propelled HGS into world leadership in the field of genomic research. Together TIGR and HGS were the first to isolate and characterize the majority of human genes, an achievement summarized in a joint publication in Nature (September 28, 1995). We are also proud to have supported TIGR's pioneering work in bacterial genomics, including the first complete sequence of the genome of a living organism, the bacterial genome of Haemophilus influenzae, published in Science in July, 1995."
While the initial TIGR/HGS relationship was critical to both organizations, both parties agree that after almost five years of collaborations, separation of future research is in their best interests. This agreement relieves HGS of a funding obligation to TIGR of more than $38 million over the next five and a half years.
Founder of TIGR, Dr. J. Craig Venter, said of this important development, "In 1992, we at TIGR knew that we would produce new genomic information and important sequences rapidly, but our discoveries have proceeded at a pace beyond our expectations, and we believe they will continue to do so. That is why it is important for TIGR to be accessible to all those interested in research for new data in a way that allows us to respond to as many as possible as rapidly as possible."
Melvin Booth, President and Chief Operating Officer of HGS said, "This agreement is a win - win for both parties. It will allow us to concentrate additional resources on the development of new products for the prevention and treatment of disease. HGS is already ahead of its original timetable in product development. The additional resources can be applied to the clinical development of our own therapeutic protein drugs and on new methods to determine the medical usefulness of our virtually complete set of human genes. In essence, I see this agreement adding over $38 million to our product development efforts over the next few years with no dilution to our shareholders and without giving away rights to HGS products."