Cytos Biotechnology AG gained validation for its second main platform technology through a target discovery collaboration with Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc., based on Cytos¿ Delphi target identification and validation system.

The agreement is designed to yield a functionally active representation of all the proteins expressed within a given tissue. The Delphi technology combines viral expression of cDNA libraries in mammalian cells with high-throughput screening using functional assays.

Millennium, of Cambridge, Mass., is supplying two orphan targets, which Cytos will analyze for interaction partners or receptors. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but Zurich, Switzerland-based Cytos will receive an up-front payment and may receive research milestones, as well as pre-commercialization milestones, license fees and royalties on any product sales. Millennium retains the right to screen for both small-molecule compounds and protein therapeutics directed at the targets.

Cytos spokeswoman Claudine Blaser said the deal is smaller than the CHF70 million (US$42 million) drug development pact Cytos signed with Novartis AG, of Basel, Switzerland, in October. (See BioWorld International, Oct. 31, 2001.)

¿Millennium has already done substantial work,¿ she said.

The two agreements are not directly comparable, however, as the Novartis pact is based on Cytos¿ main platform, its Immunodrugs therapeutic vaccine technology. Cytos has one other Delphi-based alliance, with Bayer AG, of Leverkusen, Germany, although details were not disclosed.