ZICHRON YA¿AKOV, Israel ¿ Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc. is reviewing the Israeli biotechnology arena for drugs in development and novel technologies for drug discovery and development.

¿In all franchise areas, we are developing a pipeline of groundbreaking drugs with the tools for personalized medicine by applying our genomics-based discovery platform,¿ said Yigal Koltin, Millennium vice president of international R&D alliance development for Israel and Europe. ¿Our Israeli field office is actively seeking novel technologies to improve the productivity of drug development, drug candidates in the four franchise areas, companies with a drug development pipeline, and centers of scientific excellence to develop relations with Millennium.¿

He said the four franchise areas on which Millennium is focused are oncology, metabolic diseases, inflammation and cardiovascular disease. This latter one was added to the portfolio as a result of the merger with COR Therapeutics Inc., of South San Francisco, last month.

Millennium has operational sites in Cambridge, Mass.; San Francisco; and Cambridge, UK, as well as field offices in Tokyo, Washington and Tel Aviv, Israel.

¿Israel¿s combined strength in the life sciences, computational sciences and information technologies is of significant interest to Millennium¿s thrust in personalized medicine, although the Israeli biotechnology industry is young with few companies with drugs in clinical development,¿ he said. ¿Several opportunities are under examination,¿ said Koltin, who was a co-founder of ChemGenics Pharmaceuticals in Cambridge, Mass., which merged with Millennium in 1997.