Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc. won the race to clone the obesity gene receptor, beating out high-powered competitors including Amgen Inc., Genentech Inc., Eli Lilly and Co. and Bristol-Myers Squibb.

In a paper published in Cell on Friday, Millennium researchers and collaborators at partner Hoffmann-La Roche described the cloning and characterization of the human and mouse genes that encode the OB (leptin) protein receptor (OB-R).