Companies that license out their core technologies presumably benefit from greater numbers of licensees. But the calculus changes if the company also develops products from that technology and deprives itself of a product development opportunity with each license it grants.

Medarex Inc. believes that the post-genomics era provides so many opportunities for new therapeutic compounds against new targets that the value it can derive from creative dealmaking does not subtract substantially from the value the company can create by retaining development rights, particularly if it takes equity stakes in its licensees.

Indeed, MEDX (Annandale, N.J.) today was to take part in a private financing for Immuno-Designed Molecules (Paris, France). MEDX will add $5 million to the 34 percent stake that it acquired last month in return for a $2 million payment and exclusive worldwide rights to develop the MDX-210 bispecific HER-2/neu antibody for cell therapy plus rights to MDX-220 and MDX-447 antibodies in all fields. MDX-210 is in Phase III trials in combination with Immuno-Designed's monocyte-derived activated killer (MAK) cells to treat ovarian cancer.

Donald Drakeman, president and CEO of MEDX, said his company has a one-third stake in GEN.