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Big Pharma discovery deals for Chiromics, Aptuit and MorphoSys

By Gareth MacDonald+

15-Nov-2012

Chiromics is one of a number of contractors to have landed deals with Big Pharmas this month, signing drug discovery agreements with BM-S and GSK.

The New Jersey firm will help both Big Pharmas identify small molecule compounds against ‘multiple’ undisclosed therapeutic targets using its chemical compound library and Chalis hit recognition software. Specific details of the two agreements were not disclosed.

What seems to have attracted Bristol Myers-Squibb (BM-S) and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is Chiromics’ compound library, which comprises a selection of chemicals identified using a technique known as organocatalysis in combination with cascade reactions.

In Organocatalysis simple organic molecules are used to promote asymmetric catalytic transformations in candidate small molecule compounds, which are then further modified by other organocatalysts is a series – or cascade - of reactions.

The firm claims the approach makes for a “collection of molecules that is more complex than and differentiated from currently existing small molecule collections, while retaining drug-like properties, the ability to develop structure-activity relationships and ease of re-synthesis.”

Aptuit's Italy plant wins GSK extension

But Chiromics is not the only discovery services firm to have signed a deal with GSK this week. On Tuesday Aptuit announced that the UK drug major has signed a multiyear contract extension.

The agreement – which will see Aptuit provide services at its drug discovery and development site in Verona, Italy – expands on the relationship the contractor established when it bought the facility from GSK in 2010.

The duration of the new deal was not disclosed, neither was the therapeutic focus. However, when Aptuit bought the facility it promoted it as a neuroscience hub - as it had been under GSK's ownership - and a center for the development of drugs for cardiovascular disorders and infectious disease and it would be a safe bet that research under the new deal will focus in one of these areas.

Novartis signs up for new MorphoSYs Ab tech

MorphoSys also had a Big Pharma discovery deal expansion this month with Switzerland’s Novartis signing an agreement to access new antibody technology developed by the German firm.

The new deal – financial terms of which were not disclosed - adds the Slonomics genetic engineering platform and Ylanthia fab compound library to the list of techs Morphosys and Novartis have been using to develop novel therapeutic antibodies since signing the original accord in 2007.

The expanded agreement also grants Novartis access to future technology developments and will see the drug major continue to fund a dedicated MorphoSys R&D team through to 2017.

Mark Fishman, president of the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, said: "A number of programs have emerged from the collaboration so far, and we're looking forward to adding to them in the years ahead.”

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