LONDON - Oxford GlycoSciences plc (OGS) signed a research collaboration with Pfizer Inc. for up to US$50 million to apply OGS' proteomics technology to identify disease-specific proteins as potential diagnostics, clinical markers and drug targets in Alzheimer's disease.

As part of the deal, New York-based Pfizer invested in OGS' initial public offering (IPO) on the London Stock Exchange (LSE), and will fund the research program for two years. The clinical collaboration will continue for a further five years.

In the IPO, OGS priced 11 million ordinary shares at 280 pence per share, raising £30.8 million, which capitalizes the company at about £103 million. The newly issued shares represent about one-third of the enlarged issue share capital of OGS.

Michael Kranda, CEO of OGS, told BioWorld International, “Deals and collaborations are a major part of our business strategy, and to do one with a company as well respected as Pfizer is a significant endorsement.“

Once the proteomics analysis of its Alzheimer's disease samples is complete, Pfizer has the option to select another disease to research. The partners jointly will own any intellectual property, and OGS will have the right to commercialize diagnostic markers.

Kranda said, “Together with Pfizer, we hope to find disease-specific proteins that correlate with Alzheimer's disease onset, progression and response to treatment, and use such pharmacoproteomic markers to allow better, more cost-effective and more powerful clinical trials to be designed and managed.“

OGS' approach involves identifying new protein markers of disease and using this information to classify patients as responders or non-responders to accelerate drug development processes.

Incyte Deal Focuses On Prostate Cancer

OGS also said it is launching a prostate cancer program with Incyte Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., involving diaDexus Inc., which is the molecular diagnostics joint venture formed between Incyte and SmithKline Beecham plc, of London.

The companies will undertake a proteomic analysis of prostate samples to identify markers for prostate cancer. The program will be funded through an existing collaboration between OGS and Incyte.

Applying OGS' proteomics technology to clinical samples supplied by diaDexus, and using Incyte's genomic databases to annotate the results, the collaborators intend to “conduct a systematic analysis of prostate disease.“

Early diagnosis of prostate cancer markedly improves survival chances. The analysis of thousands of proteins from normal and diseased tissues should throw up serum proteins that will serve as markers for diagnostics. Incyte and OGS will jointly own the data and intellectual property, and diaDexus will have rights to diagnostics applications in exchange for license fees. The three will share profits from products.

“The deals with Pfizer, diaDexus and Incyte speak volumes about the strength of our proteomics technology,“ said Kranda. OGS has other deals in the pipeline and “expects to add a significant number“ of collaborations to those it has at present.

In addition to the IPO proceeds, OGS raised about £2 million from ordinary share subscriptions, at 280 pence per share, by Pfizer (537,865 shares) and Incyte (161,359 shares).

Underwriter for the IPO was Dresdner Kleinwort Benson, of New York, which acted as sponsor, with Cazenove & Co., of London, serving as broker. - Randall Osborne in Atlanta contributed to this report.

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