DISCOVERYHoughten Pharmaceuticals Inc., a combinatorialchemistry company, entered into a research collaborationwith ChromaXome Corp. to use its combinatorial biologyas a source of molecules for expansion into new chemicallibraries.

Terms of the agreement between the two San Diego-based privately held companies were not disclosed.

The collaboration is the second for ChromaXome, whichwas formed two years ago. Last month the firm signed anagreement with Bristol-Myers Squibb for an undisclosedsum to provide new drug leads from the pharmaceuticalcompany's library of microbes.

ChromaXome's combinatorial biology is designed to mixgenes from different microorganisms in bacterial hosts,such as Escherichia coli, to express new chemicals, whichcan then be screened for therapeutic benefit.

In the agreement with Houghten, ChromaXome'spresident and chief operating officer, Michael Dickman,said his company will isolate small molecules expressedby the microbes' DNA as opposed to the more complexcompounds generated as end products of the geneticactivity.

Houghten's president and CEO, Robert Whitehead, saidhis company will take those small molecules, orpharmacophores, and use them as feed stock to formulatenew libraries of chemical compounds that can bescreened for usefulness as drugs.

ChromaXome's combinatorial biology is designed togenerate large quantities of potentially therapeuticbiochemicals and enzymes from marine and terrestrialmicrobes that are difficult to find and culture. The sciencealso allows researchers to activate untapped metabolicpathways in bacteria previously tested for biochemicalactivity. _ Charles Craig

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.