Economic pressures, coupled with the availability of large numbers of potential new targets from the human genome project, are pushing drug companies to stress efficiency in drug candidate generation. To take advantage of that opportunity - as well as to speed its own drug discovery efforts - Xenova Group plc last week announced the formation of MetaXen LLC together with three founders: Michael Ross, Lutz Giebel and Maris Hartmanis.

The MetaXen founders wanted to set up a drug discovery company that would move drug candidates into trials quickly, and XNVAY was looking at a way of adding technology, especially combinatorial chemistry, to its portfolio.