Under the contract, worth $A1 m (€0.6 m), >ChemGenex will provide Merck with pre-clinical services in the fields of diabetes, insulin resistance and other diabetes complications, and will investigate new targets such as the SEPS1 (Selenoprotein S) gene.
ChemGenex first pinpointed the SEPS1 gene last year. It was found to play a significant role in regulating inflammation and has since been of great interest to biomedical and pharmaceutical researchers because of an already heightened understanding of the role of inflammation in many human disorders.
It is thought to play a role in a number of complex diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer's disease preeclampsia and various infectious diseases.
"The new agreement gives Merck access to unique capabilities in diabetes research," said Dr. Inge Lues, executive vice president of pre-clinical R&D at >Merck.
"We are very familiar with ChemGenex's animal model and leading edge technical expertise and want to maintain access to these capabilities for pre-clinical development of a number of interesting potential small molecule therapeutics," said Lues.