Incyte Pharmaceuticals Inc. and privately held Oncogenetics Inc.have entered into a collaboration to identify genes involved in breastcancer and to develop diagnostics for early detection of the disease.

The two companies are targeting breast cancer-related genes other than the BRCA1 gene discovered this fall byresearchers from Myriad Genetics Inc., of Salt Lake City, theUniversity of Utah and the National Institutes of Health. The BRCA1gene is linked to only about 5 percent of familial breast cancers. Theother 95 percent are believed to arise from multiple geneticmutations.

Financial terms of the collaboration between Incyte, of Palo Alto,Calif., and Oncogenetics, of Phoenix, were not disclosed. Under theagreement, Incyte will use its DNA sequencing and bioinformatics totry to identify genes involved in breast cancers and Oncogenetics, adiagnostic developer, will attempt to create genetic tests from theinformation.

Lisa Peterson, Incyte's spokeswoman, said Oncogenetics willdevelop traditional diagnostics targeting specific genes while Incytewill retain rights to high-throughput tests for detecting larger groupsof cancer genes.

Peterson said the company also intends to seek corporatecollaborations to develop drug candidates from the breast cancergene sequence data.

She said the agreement represents the first time Incyte plans to use its"RNA transcript imaging" for development of diagnostic products.Transcript imaging, Peterson said, generates not only genesequencing data, but also information on which genes are expressedin different biological settings.

James Sommercorn, Oncogenetics' director of technologicaldevelopment, said the agreement is the first collaboration with agenomics company. Oncogenetics, formed in 1992, focusesprimarily on cancer testing services. _ Charles Craig

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