HAMBURG, Germany ¿ The German genomics company GPC AG, of Martinsried, near Munich, began a research cooperation with Hoechst Marion Roussel (HMR) Deutschland GmbH, of Frankfurt, focused on the discovery of new antifungal targets and their biochemical pathways.

GPC will utilize its proprietary PathCode technology platform to provide HMR¿s Munich-based Center for Applied Genomics with protein-protein interaction maps and functional analysis of fungal genes already identified by HMR. The technology allows the rapid elucidation of protein-protein interaction networks and biochemical pathways, and can be combined with GPC¿s DNA technology for the rapid identification of interacting genes.

The technology can identify targets in pathogens that either are not present or not essentially present in humans, so that drugs without harmful side effects to patients can be developed.

¿Already, this technology forms the core of our cooperation with Byk Gulden in the field of bacteria,¿ Bernd Seizinger, CEO of GPC AG, told BioWorld International. ¿Now, we can prove that it works with the complex genomes of eukaryotes as well.¿

Fungal infections are spreading worldwide because more and more fungi become resistant to common antifungals. Candida albicans causes more than 20 million vaginal infections annually in the U.S., and Aspergillus fumigatus is a significant cause of death in immune suppressed patients.

Seizinger said he was very pleased to be able to sign a deal with HMR, while HMR was still in the process of negotiating its merger with RPR. ¿Usually, in such a situation big pharma companies are very reserved to make deals with outside companies,¿ he said, adding that GPC was about to close a similar deal with a major pharmaceutical player in the human genomics field. Financial terms of the HMR collaboration were not disclosed.