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News & Press: Press Releases

Licensing Executives Society Announces 2008 Deals of Distinction™ Awards

Wednesday, October 22, 2008  
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ORLANDO, FL, OCTOBER 22, 2008 – Intellectual property (IP) such as patents, copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets are the fundamental drivers of innovation in our knowledge-based economy. Each year, major IP deals that transfer the rights to IP between companies help drive innovation and ensure that new products continue to reach businesses and consumers.

To highlight great examples of these deals, the Licensing Executives Society (USA and Canada), Inc. (LES) today presented its Deals of DistinctionTM Awards to winners in five industry sectors. The awards were given at the LES Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida.

"Unlike many of the recent deals on Wall Street, that were made out of desperation to save failing institutions that engaged, perhaps too much, in ‘creative' financial innovation, these deals represent successful advancement of partnerships to gain technical knowledge, products in development, or tangible solutions to business needs," said Jake Schaible, Chair of the Deals of Distinction Award Committee. "Licensing deals such as these hold the promise for the future introduction of new products and services and, as such, are our best hope for our global economy to grow and recover."

The 2008 LES Deals of Distinction Awards Winners are:

Chemicals, Energy, Environment, and Materials Sector:
SABIC Acquisition of GE Plastics

Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC), a global supplier of plastic resins used in a range of industries, acquired GE Plastics for a purchase price of $11.8 billion. GE Plastics selected SABIC as the purchaser because of SABIC's strong capital position and continued interest in both growing the business globally and its history of retaining existing management teams for companies that it acquires.

With SABIC's low cost raw material position in basic petrochemicals and the GE Plastics market position and technology base, the new company is assured of being globally competitive in the specialty plastics markets for electronics. The GE Plastics product line also complemented existing SABIC products, and provides SABIC with a major global and well positioned product line. SABIC has strong roots as a leading chemical company based in the Middle East with continued expansion in the United States. The new company formed as a result of the acquisition is called SABIC Innovative Plastics, a wholly owned subsidiary of SABIC.

"This global deal, involving a natural extension of a basic building blocks producer into higher value downstream derivatives already well established in the marketplace and the enhancement of free capital for GE's other high growth ventures, represents a win-win for both companies," says Andrea Cohen, Co-Chair of the Chemicals, Energy, Environment, and Materials Sector.

Consumer Product Sector and High Technology Sector:
Apple-AT&T for the iPhone-Cingular Wireless Service Provider Deal

Apple® and Cingular were honored for a deal that established Cingular as Apple's exclusive U.S. carrier partner for Apple's iPhone. Through the multi-year partnership, Apple and Cingular are working together to provide innovative new features to mobile phone users, such as iPhone's pioneering and unique Visual Voicemail, a first on any mobile phone in the world.
"Through this unique co-development and licensing partnership, Apple and Cingular have brought one of the most innovative products ever created to consumers," says Robin Sitver, Co-Chair of the LES Consumer Products Sector.

The Industry-University-Government Interface (IUGI) Sector:
BP, UC Berkeley, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Partnership

The winner in this category is a partnership led by the University of California, Berkeley, in collaboration with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of Illinois that was selected by BP as the recipient of a $500 million, 10-year grant to form the Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI). The EBI, which exemplifies BP's commitment to the development of novel, clean energy solutions, will pull from multiple scientific disciplines to seek novel solutions to global energy challenges, including harnessing bioenergy to develop clean, renewable energy sources and mitigating the impact of fossil fuels on global warming. Key focus areas will include feedstock development, biomass depolymerization, biofuel production, and fossil fuel bioprocessing.

LES IUGI Sector Co-Chairs Bob Gruetzmacher and Nathan Golden, and Chair-Elect Elaine White, believe that this partnership is unique in scope and represents an innovative model for collaboration between academia, government labs, and industry. "This deal enables the partners to leverage complementary skills, expertise and resources in a way that has the potential to result in the development of novel energy sources and solutions that could significantly benefit the global community", says White. "The IUGI Sector is extremely pleased to congratulate this year's winners for this important collaboration."

Health Care Sector:
Targacept Alliances with GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca

Targacept, Inc., a company developing a new class of drugs known as NNR Therapeutics™, was honored with global pharmaceutical giants GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and AstraZeneca for separate deals for the development and commercialization of potential new drugs to address critical areas of unmet medical need.  Each of the multi-faceted deals also includes a significant research component designed to produce additional novel compounds.

"While by no means the first time a research focused biopharma company has established multiple exclusive collaborations in closely related targets, Targacept and its partners are to be credited for doing so with dexterity. In addition to their scope and value, there are several interesting aspects of these deals that make them worthy of recognition. For example, each deal includes distinct therapeutic focus areas and prescribes exclusivity based primarily on binding and activity at specific neuronal nicotinic receptor (NNR) subtypes, thereby meeting the needs of the big pharma partner while preserving for Targacept the opportunity for independent pursuits," said Jake Schaible, President, Toscana Ventures, Inc and Chair of the LES Health Care Sector.

The GSK deal, made through its Center of Excellence for External Drug Discovery (CEEDD), and signed in 2007, provides for Targacept to discover novel small molecules that target specified NNR subtypes for five therapeutic focus areas – pain, smoking cessation, obesity, addiction and Parkinson's disease – and develop the most promising for each of the five areas through Phase 2 proof of concept (POC). Targacept is eligible to receive pre- and post-POC achievement milestones. Upon achievement of POC, GSK has an exclusive option to secure a license and become responsible for late-stage development and commercialization on a worldwide basis.  Uniquely structured, the alliance is designed to combine Targacept's proven drug discovery and early development proficiency with GSK's global development and commercialization expertise and resources.

The AstraZeneca deal, signed in 2005, includes Targacept's Phase 2b product candidate AZD3480 (TC-1734) and is focused in cognitive disorders, including Alzheimer's disease, cognitive dysfunction in schizophrenia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. In addition to AZD3480, the deal involves a multi-year preclinical research collaboration in which the parties work closely together to discover additional novel compounds to treat cognitive disorders. Targacept has an option to co-promote in the United States AZD3480 and any compounds that arise out of the research collaboration. Independent of the research collaboration, the deal also includes a mechanism by which Targacept can offer to AstraZeneca compounds that act on different NNR subtypes than AZD3480 for cognitive disorders.


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