PARIS ¿ The French drug discovery company Cerep SA entered into a scientific collaboration with Aventis Pharma, of Strasbourg, France, aimed at accelerating the optimization of certain drug candidates being developed by Aventis.

The agreement calls for Cerep, of Rueil-Malmaison, to provide scientific services in support of an Aventis Pharma research program focused on the optimization of kinase-inhibiting pharmaceutical compounds, according to criteria agreed upon by the two companies. Cerep will draw on its expertise in the areas of medicinal chemistry and molecular modeling, as well as on its parallel synthesis capability.

Aventis Pharma will pay Cerep for the services it provides, but the financial details of the deal were not disclosed. According to Cerep¿s chief scientific officer, Fridiric Rivah, there is no fixed time to the collaboration, but the agreement requires Cerep to devote a minimum volume of resources to the program.

Rivah told BioWorld International that this deal was a first for Aventis, since it had ¿never subcontracted in the area of drug optimization before.¿ He pointed out that the modification of kinase activity could be relevant to therapeutics in a number of disease areas, including cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, metabolic disorders and inflammation, but did not know which areas were involved in the collaboration with Aventis.