PARIS - Cerep S.A. has launched two new drug-discovery tools, a drug database called BioPrint and a chemical compound library called Odyssey 5000, both of which are available to third parties on a subscription basis.

The BioPrint database consists of comprehensive data sets for a growing number of compounds, providing pharmacodynamic data, toxicity profiles, results of in vitro studies, and in vivo properties for each one. It is designed to give pharmaceutical companies the information needed to select candidate drugs more efficiently at the preclinical stage and to optimize the pharmacological profile of the ones taken into clinical development.

Subscribers to BioPrint are given non-exclusive access over a period of years to data relating both to drugs on the market and to reference compounds that failed during development, as well as to various extensions of the database. In addition, Cerep will incorporate in BioPrint, on an exclusive basis, data relating to candidate drugs that individual subscribers are developing. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. became the first subscriber to BioPrint under the terms of the agreement it signed with Cerep on July 20. (See BioWorld International, July 28, 1999, p. 1.)

The Odyssey 5000 chemical library comprises 5,000 products of extreme purity. Cerep describes it as a "quality and optimized diversity library ... based on a unique collection of basic monomers specifically conceived for screening targets within the framework of drug discovery programs." The library's chemical compounds possess the physical and chemical characteristics required for high-throughput screening and are representative of the types of candidate compounds preferred by chemists.

For the Paris-based drug discovery company, making this kind of tool available to the pharmaceutical industry is complementary to the high-throughput pharmacological screening and compound selection services it already provides to its customers, as chairman Thierry Jean explained: "Putting BioPrint and Odyssey 5000 on the market is a logical part of Cerep's development plan, which is to develop innovative technologies for improving the efficiency and profitability of the drug discovery process."

Cerep also announced its second-quarter results, showing turnover virtually unchanged at FFr15.1 million (US$2.43 million) as against FFr15 million in the second quarter of 1998. For the first half of 1999 as a whole, revenues were down 5 percent at FFr29.9 million from FFr31.5 million in the corresponding six months of last year.