BORNHEIM, Germany ¿ LION bioscience AG said the whereabouts of its chief financial officer, Klaus J. Sprockamp, remained uncertain after the New York terrorist attacks. He was attending a meeting in the upper floors of the World Trade Center at the time of the attacks last week and has not been heard from since.
¿Our thoughts are with his family and all victims,¿ LION CEO Friedrich von Bohlen said in a prepared statement. LION said it is working diligently to determine what happened to Sprockamp.
In the interim, LION Corporate Controller Peter Willinger will head the finance department. All other business and company activities will proceed as usual, the company said.
¿We are aware that the uncertainty regarding the whereabouts of our CFO, as well as speculations concerning our continued collaboration with Bayer AG, in recent days has led to a general insecurity about LION,¿ von Bohlen said. ¿Despite our fears and concerns about Klaus Sprockamp, any such insecurity is wholly unfounded.¿
After the pharmaceutical company Bayer, of Leverkusen, Germany, took its blockbuster Lipobay/Baycol off all markets in August, it considered selling its pharmaceutical business. LION and Bayer have an ongoing US$100 million agreement for the establishment of an information technology-based knowledge management system and its application for in silico identification and validation of new drug targets, gene expression markers and single nucleotide polymorphisms. When LION in April announced identification of 250 targets, it was 20 months ahead of schedule. The five-year collaboration was signed in 1999.
Bayer, which holds 7.74 percent of LION¿s shares, last Thursday formally announced it would keep its pharmaceuticals business. Bayer also confirmed that LION would continue to be a key strategic partner in the reorganization and optimization of Bayer¿s entire research and development process, LION said.
¿Any rumors about a sale of LION shares by Bayer and any speculation about a termination of our collaboration with Bayer are simply false,¿ von Bohlen said. Bayer spokeswoman Christina Sehnert confirmed this information.
¿Given the actual development of our business thus far, we foresee further growth of LION¿s business,¿ von Bohlen said.
The company said it expects one or two significant new collaboration agreements by the end of the current fiscal year.