LONDON ¿ Xenova Group plc sold its U.S. subsidiary, MetaXen, to Exelixis Pharmaceuticals Inc. for #238,000 (US $380,000).

Exelixis, based in South San Francisco, will acquire the premises, equipment and employees, but Xenova will retain ownership of certain intellectual property relating to drug lead-optimization, profiling and predictive-modeling systems developed by MetaXen.

At the same time, the most significant project currently being handled by MetaXen, the development of the antithrombotic plasminogen activator inhibitor PAI-1, will be transferred to Xenova¿s partner, Eli Lilly and Co., of Indianapolis.

David Oxlade, CEO of Slough-based Xenova, said the sale, along with the sale in March 1999 of the Discovery business, will substantially reduce Xenova¿s cash burn. Xenova Discovery and MetaXen accounted for an operating loss of #7.5 million in 1998, half the losses for that period. ¿ Nuala Moran