By Kim Coghill

Washington Editor

Medarex Inc. and Incyte Genomics Inc. entered a collaboration to develop antibodies using Medarex¿s UltiMAb Human Antibody Development System.

Incyte, of Palo Alto, Calif., will bring to the collaboration its database of transcribed genes, which it said is the largest genomics database in the industry.

Chris Schade, chief financial officer of Princeton, N.J.-based Medarex, told BioWorld Today that the companies have not disclosed which indications would be targeted. A press release from both companies named only ¿cancer and other life-threatening and debilitating diseases.¿ The companies will select the diseases jointly.

In terms of finances, Schade said the deal is a standard 50-50 partnership under which each company equally assumes responsibility for costs associated with preclinical and clinical development. And the companies will share commercialization expenses and profits.

¿What they are doing in their science is very exciting, and in collaboration with our science, we believe we can come up with some interesting therapeutics for unmet medical needs,¿ Schade said. ¿The explosion of disease targets coming through the genomics revolution is what we are after, and Incyte offers perhaps another method to take advantage of this exciting science.¿

Medarex¿s UltiMAb system comprises its transgenic mouse that is injected with an antigen and automatically has an immunological response, then generates and makes antibodies.

Founded in 1986, Medarex has an impressive list of collaborations using its proprietary technology. In a recent agreement, Human Genome Sciences Inc., of Rockville, Md., licensed the technology in a deal that provides Medarex with license fees, milestone payments and royalties. (See BioWorld Today, July 26, 2001.)

Schade said Medarex is involved in 42 collaborations; 27 are licensing agreements and 15 are 50-50 deals.

Of the deal with Incyte, Schade said, ¿This is a further step in our growth to become a pharmaceutical development company where we are combining the best antibody production machine with genomics discovery and we have very ambitious goals for our therapeutic development. Our collaboration with Incyte is yet a further step in that direction.¿

Medarex¿s other technologies are the T-12 Development, which offers the potential to move from target to trial in about 12 months, and the Trans-Phage Technology, a system that combines high-throughput screening with fully human antibody development.

Incyte develops and markets genomic databases and partnership programs, genomic data management software, microarray-based gene expression services, related reagents and services. They are designed to help researchers with gene discovery, understanding disease pathways, identifying new disease targets and the discovery and correlation of gene sequence variation to disease.

Incyte recently entered a collaboration with Lexicon Genetics Inc., of The Woodlands, Texas. The agreement is aimed at building each other¿s technologies and developing therapeutic protein drug products. (See BioWorld Today, June 29, 2001.)

Incyte officials did not return calls seeking comment.

Medarex¿s stock (NASDAQ:MEDX) closed Thursday at $18.80, up 35 cents, while Incyte¿s (NASDAQ:INCY) closed at $14.49, up 39 cents.