GeneLogic acquires first customer for new service

Related tags Metabolism Pharmacology

Contract service provider, GeneLogic, has formed a partnership with
Millenium Pharmaceuticals acquiring a technology program and an
associated research team as part of the deal. Millenium becomes the
first customer for this new service as GeneLogic aims to launch a
new venture identifying new indications for drugs.

The service has been introduced to prioritise and identify indications for compounds entering preclinical development, identify alternative uses for compounds that have stalled in clinical development and expand indications for currently marketed drugs.

The move attempts to address a critical need among biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies today who are conscious of rising costs of the R&D process of which outsourcing may well be the best route.

The deal could be seen as a move on Millenium's part, acknowledging the promise of products that long-term, will have large markets and be able to generate growing sales and revenues. This is in contrast to their best selling cancer drug Velcade, which short-term, has exceeded sales and the predictions of market analysts.

As part of the deal, GeneLogic will work to identify new therapeutic indications for Millenium's MLN4760, a compound that was previously under development for obesity, in exchange for fees, milestone and royalty payments.

MLN4760 is a molecule directed against a genomically derivedtarget for metabolic disease. It works by blocking carboxypeptidase, an enzyme that may play a role in regulating fat metabolism (meaning it causes a net burning as opposed to storing fat).

Millennium​ will make use of GeneLogic proprietary technologies, including in vivo compound imaging, in vitro pathway screening, predictive and genetic ADME capabilities and metabolomics technologies for use in preclinical and clinical drug development.

GeneLogic are expected to pay $3.5 million (€2.9 million) in cash or stock, at GeneLogic's to Millennium in 2006, $1 million in cash and stock to certain employees who are leaving Millennium and joining GeneLogic and grant-back licenses to certain technologies acquired from Millennium.

In addition, Millennium will receive a license to use GeneLogic's ToxExpress database for three years, valued by Gene Logic at $4.5 million. GeneLogic will also spend approx $8.5 million over the next 18 months to develop and commercialise these new capabilities.

Louis Tartaglia, former vice president of new ventures and metabolic diseases, at Millennium said: "Many of the better known drugs were first examined for one possible use and yet subsequently had their greatest therapeutic potential discovered in other unanticipated indications. Examples include Viagra (erectile dysfunction), Hytrin (benign prostatic hyperplasia), and Evista (osteoporosis)."

"Furthermore, nearly 90 per cent of marketed drugs find important new clinical indications following approval. Our underlying premise is that in a similar way, many compounds currently in pharmaceutical pipelines may have important, unexplored alternative uses."

The deal also sees GeneLogic further acquiring the MC-4 antagonist therapeutic program from Millennium, which GeneLogic expects to out-license following further preclinical and therapeutic indication expansion efforts.

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