Celgene Corp. is best known for its development of thalidomide into an approvable drug and for its roots in chiral drug development. Thus the company's decision to acquire Signal Pharmaceuticals Inc. is perhaps not an obvious move, taking it upstream into the realm of gene regulation. But CELG is looking to improve the targeting of its small molecule drug candidates, and believes that Signal's intracellular signaling and gene and protein regulation drug discovery platform is the way to get there.

CELG (Warren, N.J.) last week said it will acquire Signal (San Diego, Calif.) for 3.7 million shares valued at $218 million using Friday's close of $58.875. The deal takes Signal out of the IPO queue: the company had filed in February to raise $70 million (see BioCentury, Feb. 28).