Preclinical services news in brief
services arena, news has emerged involving Evotec, Dr Reddy's and
Evotec has inked a second drug discovery deal with InterMune that expands on an existing hepatitis C collaboration the two firms have had for a year. Under the scope of the latest arrangement, Evotec will provide medicinal chemistry support to InterMune's research efforts, along with computational chemistry, protein production, x-ray crystallography and absorption, distribution, excretion, metabolism, toxicity (ADMET) techniques to further characterise active compounds and optimise their potency and selectivity to generate lead molecules for InterMune's clinical programme. Since the earlier contract was forged, Evotec has been applying its fragment-based drug discovery platform, Evolution, in combination with its ultra-high-throughput screening (uHTS) technologies to InterMune's targets. The financial terms include a technology access fee for access to Evotec's technology plus ongoing research funding. Meanwhile, India's Dr. Reddy's Laboratories has signed an agreement with Denmark's 7TM Pharma to develop therapies to treat metabolic disorders. 7TM has a particular expertise in the development of G-protein coupled deceptor (GPCR) drugs which are used in metabolic disorders. This class of GPCR-based drug is highly lucrative - 12 of the top 20 selling drugs, including Coreg for congestive heart failure, Cozaar for high blood pressure, Zoladex for breast cancer, Buspar for anxiety and Clozaril for schizophrenia, as well as Zantac and Claritin, use this mechanism of action. Together the drug class accounts for $200bn (€159bn) in annual sales. The terms of the arrangement between the two firms was not disclosed, although it is known that there are plans to licence any successful candidate out to a larger pharma firm at some stage of the development process. In related news, GSK has opened its first pilot plant in Singapore that will handle new process development and scale-up of its clinical compounds. The company has a heavy presence in Singapore, where it holds its headquarters for the Asia-Pacific region and the $82m pilot plant further extends the firm's in-house capabilities in the country, which already includes drug discovery, clinical research and manufacturing facilities. "The pilot plant will facilitate the design of manufacturing processes, to bring the latest drugs discovered at GSK into commercial production for the first time", said S. Iswaran, Singapore's Minister of State for Trade and Industry. GSK is one of a growing number of large pharma firms to make investments in Singapore that branch out beyond the traditional realm of commercial-scale manufacturing.