Quark Biotech Inc.

is about to complete a financing round, according to its VP Business Development Juliana Friedmann.

QBI, which maintains an R&D facility in Nes Ziona, has developed a technology to identify genes that can be useful in drug development. The company was founded in 1994 by Lawrence J. Ellison, CEO, founder and chairman of



Friedmann refused to disclose figures, but said that $20 million figure cited by hi-tech information company Dolev & Abramovich is wrong. She added that the company will release details on the round once it is completed.

QBI will be raising capital from new investors, chiefly non-American international pharmas, Friedmann said.

QBI President & CEO Daniel Zurr left on May 5 for Japan, probably in the context of the financing round.

Company sources say that to date Ellison has invested millions of dollars in QBI. Other investors include senior executives from the technology sector in the West Coast, as well as former president of Rockefeller University and Nobel laureate Joshua Lederberg.

In June 2000, TheMarker.com reported that QBI was planning a Wall Street IPO, and that the offering would be led by

Chase H&Q

at a company valuation of $500 million. Ultimately QBI held back, deterred by the tech crash. Its valuation for the present round is probably below $200 million.

QBI has 200 workers. Sales are expected to commence only around 2007, but Friedmann says they might begin earlier.