By Karen Young

TransTech Pharma Inc. entered a three-year research collaboration with Novo Nordisk A/S that will focus on the discovery and development of new targets in diabetes.

This deal builds on an initial five-year collaboration the companies entered into in August, in which TransTech is to turn out clinical drug candidates based on Novo targets. (See BioWorld Today, Aug. 7, 2001.)

The latest agreement involves a TransTech program in diabetes that Novo Nordisk is supporting in return for exclusive worldwide license to certain products resulting from the research. TransTech will receive an undisclosed up-front payment, three years of research support and potential milestones and royalties.

¿This is a very significant deal,¿ said Adnan Mjalli, president and CEO of TransTech, of High Point, N.C. ¿This is a program that TransTech has worked on and made some major advances ¿ real breakthroughs in terms of our ability to discover small molecules that are proprietary, selective and efficacious in animals.¿

Novo Nordisk, based in Copenhagen, Denmark, will conduct all the preclinical and development work in the clinic at its facilities, Mjalli said. TransTech will use its Translational Technology, including TTProbes that deliver selective, drug-like inhibitors through an accelerated process.

Mjalli said the deal with Novo Nordisk includes ¿significant¿ milestone payments and royalties on the sales. Novo made an undisclosed equity investment in TransTech in August, also.

¿It¿s a real testament of the strength of our Translational Technology to take on very challenging biological targets and be able to deliver drug targets,¿ said Mjalli. ¿Now, we have partners who will help us move these programs further along in the clinic.¿

TransTech¿s Translational Technology includes rapid ligand synthesis, high-throughput analysis and characterization, high-throughput in vitro and in vivo testing and reiteration.

Mjalli said it also will be an opportunity for the company to enhance all of its programs.

TransTech, founded in 1999, has active programs in oncology, in which it hopes to move to clinical testing next year. Mjalli said the compounds the company has discovered demonstrate a ¿very, very impressive profile in regard to certain types of cancers.¿

The company also has compounds that appear promising for inflammation and arthritis. That program, too, is scheduled to be in clinical trials next year, he said.

¿We have projects that have also shown to be very powerful and effective in Alzheimer¿s disease and Parkinson¿s disease,¿ Mjalli said. ¿We also have a program showing excellent promise in the stroke area.¿

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