Deals that are good at one stage of a company's life can become impediments at another. That was the case with the 1997 agreement between Lexicon Genetics Inc. and the Merck Genome Research Institute. The parties last week agreed to terminate the deal, under which Merck Genome provided funding for the development of LEXG's gene trapping process for production of the company's OmniBank library of knockout mouse clones for functional genomics research.

"The Merck