BioWorld International Correspondent

PARIS - Cerep SA signed a three-year bioinformatics collaboration agreement with Pfizer Inc., giving the New York-based pharmaceutical company access to Cerep's BioPrint database and the bioinformatics tools derived from it.

In particular, the deal calls for Cerep, of Rueil-Malmaison, to produce exclusive BioPrint data on a number of Pfizer proprietary compounds. In addition, Cerep and Pfizer will collaborate on the enhancement of the BioPrint database and prediction software. The basic objective of the collaboration is to develop improved methods for the early prediction of possible adverse clinical events.

The financial terms of the agreement, which was signed in late 2002, were not disclosed, but Cerep CEO Thierry Jean said it was "a very good deal" for Cerep. He told BioWorld International that the company had received an up-front payment covering both the license granted to Pfizer and the transfer to it of all the existing BioPrint data and bioinformatics tools, and that it was to receive fixed quarterly payments for the new data it would provide.

Jean said the agreement specified a minimum number of Pfizer compounds for which Cerep would provide BioPrint data, indicating that it would run into the hundreds. Although the agreement had been concluded for three years, it was renewable, he said, pointing out that most of Cerep's agreements were automatically renewed.

Cerep and Pfizer have been involved in a separate collaboration since May 1999, under which the French company screens candidate drugs submitted by Pfizer. Cerep uses its high-throughput profiling and lead-development tools to analyze the pharmacological properties and evaluate the therapeutic potential of chemical compounds emanating from Pfizer's human and animal health research.

Jean confirmed that three-year agreement had effectively been renewed in 2002, adding that it was becoming increasingly large in scope as Pfizer expanded its activities and took over other companies. "We now profile all products for Pfizer throughout the world," he said.