OVERSATURATED: "There are more funded projects than we can absorb," says HGS's William Haseltine.
Earlier this month, Human Genome Sciences Inc. (HGS), a biotech firm in Rockville, Md., and Philadelphia-based pharmaceutical giant SmithKline Beecham widened their almost three-year-old exclusive agreement to include more companies in their bioprospecting of the human genome. In research and marketing deals totaling more than $90 million over the next five years, Schering Plough Corp. of Madison, N.J., and France's third-largest drug company, Synthnélabo, will pay for access to HGS's database of human gene sequences for developing biomedical products. A $50 million deal with the German firm Merck KGaA (which is not affiliated with the Whitehouse Station, N.J.-based firm Merck and Co. Inc.) is expected to be finalized soon. In 1995, HGS and SmithKline first opened up their collaboration to include Japan's largest drug company, Takeda Chemical Industries Ltd. "There are more funded projects than we...

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