Lexicon Genetics Inc. has received some absolution in its controversy with the scientific community, which erupted in the fall after researchers at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute refused to sign the company's material transfer agreement for its OmniBank library of mutant embryonic stem (ES) cells. But at the same time, the company now faces direct competition from academia.

The controversy stemmed from HHMI's refusal to agree to reach-through rights contained in Lexicon's MTA, thus preventing the transfer of published ES cell clones to academic researchers (see BioCentury, Oct. 25, 1999). The clones are used to generate mice with disruptions or mutations in specific genes of interest.