Avid Therapeutics Inc. and Terrapin Technologies Inc. entered into acollaboration to discover drugs to treat hepatitis B virus (HBV), thecompanies said Monday.

Both Avid, of Philadelphia, and Terrapin, of South San Francisco,are private companies. Avid has an ongoing program on HBV withWarner-Lambert Co., of Morris Plains, N.J., using its assays toscreen Warner-Lambert's library.

Avid will make an undisclosed up-front payment to Terrapin, whichalso could receive milestone and royalty payments. Avid getsexclusive rights to any compounds coming from the collaboration.

The companies will combine Terrapin's TRAP technology andAvid's HBV assays to screen compounds from Terrapin's library.

The TRAP technology identifies lead molecules by testing theirbinding affinity with a range of other proteins. It also can be used topredict the binding properties of drug candidates in chemicallibraries. Avid has high-throughput assays that can identify inhibitorsof HBV polymerase and HBV expression.

"When you marry the two you have complementary technologies thathopefully will lead to identification of compounds from Terrapin'slibrary," Richard Driansky, Avid's executive vice president, toldBioWorld.

Terrapin, which completed a $5 million private placement inOctober, has two compounds it is preparing to take into the clinic. _Jim Shrine

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