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BioVeris Has Close Ties to 4 Companies Run by Its CEO

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By Michael Barbaro
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, June 21, 2004; Page E12

While a lawsuit filed last week focuses attention on a company run by the son of BioVeris Corp. chief executive Samuel J. Wohlstadter, BioVeris also has close relationships with four private companies run by the father.

BioVeris was formerly Igen International Inc., a Gaithersburg biotechnology company bought in February for $1.25 billion in cash by Swiss drug maker Roche Holdings Ltd. Roche extracted a non-exclusive license to a single Igen technology and then quickly spun the company back out to shareholders, who now own BioVeris, essentially unchanged from before the buyout.

The information below comes from Igen's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. BioVeris officials declined comment on these related companies. BioVeris has not yet filed its 2004 annual financial report, but it did file a prospectus in connection with its creation after Igen's sale to Roche.

Wellstat Therapeutics Corp. In 1986, Igen agreed to provide administrative services to Wellstat Therapeutics, a drug development company at 930 Clopper Rd., Gaithersburg, an address not far from Igen's headquarters. Those services include accounting, finance and human resources.

In 1993, Igen reorganized and discontinued its drug development operation. As part of the reorganization, Wellstat Therapeutics agreed to assume Igen's responsibility for a cancer-drug program. As of the beginning of this year, Wellstat had not developed any products under its Igen license.

Wohlstadter is Wellstat Therapeutics' controlling shareholder, chief executive and a director. For the year ending March 31, 2003, Wellstat paid Igen $352,000.

Proteinix Corp. In 1992, Igen agreed to provide administrative services to Proteinix, which lists its address as 16020 Industrial Dr., the address of BioVeris's headquarters.

As part of the same 1993 Igen reorganization, Proteinix agreed to take over Igen's abzyme research program. Abzymes are artificial compounds that work like natural enzymes, which speed up chemical reactions.

As of the first of this year, Proteinix had not yet developed any products under the agreement. It is now listed as a dormant company.

Wohlstadter is the controlling shareholder, chief executive and a director of Proteinix. BioVeris president Richard J. Massey owns stock in Proteinix, but less than 10 percent.

For the year ending March 31, 2003, Proteinix paid Igen $6,000.

Hyperion Catalysis International. In 1994, Igen agreed to develop biomedical products using advanced materials with Hyperion, a Cambridge, Mass., nanotechnology company that is developing extremely small plastic tubes for use in automobiles and electronics. Although the joint venture was terminated the following year, Igen entered into a supply agreement with Hyperion.

Wohlstadter is Hyperion's controlling shareholder, chief executive and a director. BioVeris president Massey is a Hyperion director. BioVeris's chief financial officer, George V. Migausky, is Hyperion's chief financial officer, a Hyperion official said last week. Migausky did not return a message on his work phone seeking comment.

BioVeris provides administrative services to Hyperion at cost. For the year ending March 31, 2003, Hyperion paid Igen $338,000.

Wellstat Biologics Corp. Also in 1994, Igen agreed to provide administrative services to Wellstat Biologics, which, according to its Web site, is developing cancer treatments. Wellstat Biologics lists its address as 930 Clopper Rd. in Gaithersburg, the same address as Wellstat Therapeutics.

Wohlstadter is Wellstat Biologics's controlling shareholder, chief executive and a director. For the year ending March 31, 2003, Wellstat Biologics paid Igen $313,000.

Staff researcher Richard Drezen contributed to this report.


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