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Bionomics Acquires Prestwick Chemical

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Bionomics Limited has acquired the business assets of Prestwick Chemical, based in Strasbourg France. Prestwick is co-located with Bionomics' wholly-owned business Neurofit, and reported revenues for the year to December 2013 of €4.292 million. Bionomics has agreed to pay €270,000 for the assets.

Prestwick is a premium provider of medicinal chemistry services and smart screening libraries. It specialises in research and development services in early drug discovery including hit identification and validation, hit to lead, and lead optimisation based on its expertise and state-of-the-art computational technology. Prestwick boasts one marketed product from its contract research services as well as several compounds in Phase III clinical trials.

Bionomics has been an active Prestwick customer since 2009, with Prestwick currently involved in Bionomics' pain program and previously contracted to work on Bionomics' BNC375 program. Both programs are partnered with Merck & Co. The acquisition of Prestwick vertically integrates key functions within Bionomics in early stage drug discovery and development in neuroscience and oncology.

A very valuable asset of Prestwick is its blue chip customer list. Its big pharmaceutical company customers include GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Bayer, Sanofi Aventis, Abbot and EMD (Merck Serono). In addition Prestwick has several dozen small and mid-size pharmaceutical and biotechnology company clients. Its expertise and customer base are complementary and highly synergistic with those of Neurofit.

"The acquisition of Prestwick is an important addition to Bionomics' global operations. Bionomics is especially pleased to have acquired the Prestwick drug candidate library. This is a prized asset and we are well placed to understand and benefit from its true value," said Dr Deborah Rathjen, Bionomics' CEO and Managing Director.

"Bionomics is building a global business with integrated drug discovery and development expertise to support strategic partnerships. Prestwick adds to Bionomics' capacity to rapidly identify and advance high value drug candidates for partnering and development."

"Prestwick will continue to provide its existing services and its name will not change. Ownership by Bionomics will bring stability within the board and management and deliver synergies by complementing the existing Bionomics business, cementing the important role of Prestwick in ongoing Bionomics R&D programs."

"The acquisition comes with no debt, but valuable assets including the expertise of its staff in drug innovation and direct channels into a large number of pharmaceutical companies."

"Longer term Bionomics shareholders will recall the 2005 acquisition of Neurofit. The similarities are apparent and if Prestwick returns a fraction of the benefits of Neurofit then it will likely be a very worthwhile investment, for a modest price."

The hand over of the assets and management will occur on 1 October 2014.

In 2005 Bionomics acquired Neurofit, a contract research organisation specialising in neurological diseases. Neurofit has played a key role in the identification of BNC210 which is in development for the treatment of anxiety and depression. Neurofit has also been involved in the evaluation of compounds in the BNC375 program licensed by Merck & Co for up to $US506 million in upfront and milestone payments plus royalties on product sales.

Prestwick Chemical was founded in 1999 by Professor CG Wermuth, a world renowned expert in medicinal chemistry, along with senior scientists from Strasbourg University.