By Kim Coghill

Washington Editor

SYN X Pharma Inc. and genOway SA entered a collaboration to combine their expertise in proteomics and genomics, respectively, to develop cardiovascular and central nervous system drug targets.

"This agreement is beyond the hype and rage of genomics and proteomics and will generate a large number of products in a short period of time," said Cam Battley, spokesman for Toronto-based SYN X. "I expect there will be a licensing agreement with another company later this year."

Under terms of the deal, SYN X and genOway, of Lyon, France, will test products born of the collaboration through Phase I trials, and beyond that will license the products to pharmaceutical companies for Phase II trials.

Financially, money has not changed hands, Battley said. "This is a strategic collaboration in which the companies will share revenues down the middle unless one company contributes more than the other to a product's development."

SYN X has developed a proprietary Proteomics Discovery Platform while genOway has a proprietary genomics platform to develop transgenic animals for identification of drug candidates. GenOway will test SYN X's proteins for therapeutic value using transgenic rodents created for the research.

"GenOway's ability to create transgenic animals that can screen for human disease characteristics and toxicity to humans is very important and unique," SYN X spokeswoman Karen Lauriston said. "SYN X has the proteins and genOway has the animals to pole-vault the testing ahead by years. Also, both companies have a track record of success and credibility in their respective fields."

Battley said the research will involve compounds already in development by both companies.

GenOway, which uses technology based on stem cell research and genetic engineering, is a tool provider in the field of functional genomics that develops and markets research models for both in vitro and in vivo research of drug targets.

SYN X has developed a library of proprietary proteins for central nervous system conditions, cardiovascular diseases and stroke.

Earlier this year, SYN X and Janssen Research Foundation, a Belgium-based unit of Johnson & Johnson, entered a research collaboration to test SYN X's human stroke markers in Janssen's animal models for stroke and traumatic brain injury. The agreement requires Janssen to make research payments and purchase products from SYN X for research purposes.

In January, SYN X and Genzyme Diagnostics, of Cambridge, Mass., said that a U.S. patent application had been allowed on the NeuroTrak stroke panel diagnostic test. Once issued, the patent will trigger a $3.75 million milestone payment to SYN X by Genzyme, which holds all commercial rights to the product. n