By Kim Coghill

Washington Editor

Microcide Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Cetek Corp. said they entered a collaborative research and development agreement to discover and develop new classes of anti-infective agents.

The collaboration will use a specified number of proprietary bacterial, fungal and viral targets from Microcide¿s microbial genomics VALID (Validated Antimicrobial Lead Identification and Development) System, together with Cetek¿s proprietary capillary electrophoresis (CE) technology, to identify novel compounds and natural products with antimicrobial activity.

¿It is turning out that our assay is becoming extremely good in anti-infectives and we¿ve done some other collaborations with other anti-infectives, so our assay is looking like one of the leading assays to be used in anti-infective drug discovery,¿ said James Little, senior vice president of Marlborough, Mass.-based Cetek. ¿The other main reason is Microcide also has a natural product library and our assay looks like the leading assay for doing natural product screening. There was kind of a double hit here. The two areas that our assay looks extremely strong are both of extreme interest to Microcide.¿

Little would not discuss in detail financial terms of the deal but did say Microcide, of Mountain View, Calif., will pay Cetek ¿significant¿ milestones. Microcide will have worldwide development and commercialization rights on products that result from the collaboration.

¿We are very pleased to be collaborating with Cetek to integrate their novel, cell-free screening technologies with our own biochemical and whole-cell screens against a number of Microcide¿s 350-plus essential gene targets,¿ Jim Rurka, president and CEO of Microcide, said in a prepared statement. ¿We believe that this combined approach, which utilizes Microcide¿s microbial genomics VALID System, will find target-specific candidate compounds which are proven to be able to enter the microbial cell, reach the target, and kill the pathogen.¿

Microcide¿s VALID System is a proprietary set of integrated genomics and genetics discovery tools from which new classes of antibiotics, antifungal agents and antiviral drugs can be discovered.

Microcide¿s stock (NASDAQ:MCDE) closed Tuesday at $4.25, up 1 cent.

Cetek, a privately held drug discovery company, applies its proprietary capillary electrophoresis screening technology to develop high-throughput screening assays for drug targets. The CETEK CE assay can quickly discover valuable ¿hits¿ from synthetic libraries, combinatorial mixtures and natural product extracts, Cetek said.

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