BioWorld International Correspondent

Biovitrum AB entered a three-year drug discovery and development collaboration with Asinex Ltd. to find drug candidates for metabolic disease.

Terms were not disclosed, but the collaboration will operate on a shared-risk basis up to selection of clinical development candidates. Asinex, of Moscow, will be entitled to receive milestone payments thereafter. Separately, it will provide Biovitrum, of Stockholm, Sweden, with additional computational chemistry, screening and medicinal chemistry services for targets outside of the collaboration, on a fee-for-service basis.

Biovitrum will nominate the drug targets that will be the focus of the collaboration.

"It could be previously unexplored targets or targets we are already working on and are seeking alternative chemical starting points for," said Thomas Olin, senior director of business development at Biovitrum.

Biovitrum has about 60 medicinal chemists working in-house, but has previously partnered with other chemistry companies in order to accelerate its discovery research. Asinex has directed libraries that cover targets such as G protein-coupled receptors, nuclear receptors, kinases and proteases, which are important in metabolic disease research.

"Those will be a good starting point," Olin said. "Beyond that, they have developed quite new chemistry that will allow the collaboration to move into a new patent space."

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