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Patricia Van Arnum was executive editor of Pharmaceutical Technology.
Dietmar Hopp, cofounder of the German information technology giant SAP AG (Waldorff, Germany) is forming a new pharmaceutical company from the merger of two German biopharmaceutical companies: Axaron Bioscience AG (Heidelberg, Germany) and Lion Bioscience AG (Heidelberg, Germany).
Dietmar Hopp, cofounder of the German information technology giant SAPAG (Waldorff, Germany, www.sap.com)is forming a new pharmaceutical company from the merger of two Germanbiopharmaceutical companies: Axaron Bioscience AG (Heidelberg, Germany,www.axaron.com) and Lion BioscienceAG (Heidelberg, Germany, www.lionbioscience.com).
"I see great potential in the area of life sciences and itsprofessional development," said Hopp, in commenting on the formation ofthe new company.
The new company will have funds of EUR 51 million ($64.5 million) ofwhich EUR 21 million ($26.5 million) will come from the Hopp family.The majority shareholder of Axaron Bioscience, the German chemicalgiant BASF AG (Ludwigshafen, Germany, www.basf.com) will invest EUR 7 million ($8.8million) in the new company. A further EUR 23 million ($29.0 million)will come from Lion Bioscience.
The new company will focus on drug development for central nervoussystem disease. Its lead candidate is "AX200," a product for treatingstrokes.
The name of the new company will be decided at Lion's annual meetingthis fall. It will be headed by two management board members: AlfredBach, now CEO of Axaron, and Peter Willinger, now CEO of LionBioscience.
Axaron Bioscience was founded in 1997 as a joint venture between BASFand Lynx Therapeutics (now Solexa, Hayward, CA, www.solexa.com) andbecame an independent company in 2001. Lion Bioscience was founded in1997 as a bioinformatics company and was restructured by new managementin 2004.