Sequana Therapeutics Inc. and Genentech Inc. signed an agreementTuesday in which Genentech gets the right of first negotiation todevelop recombinant therapeutic proteins coming out of genediscoveries made by Sequana.Genentech, of South San Francisco, made an equity investment of lessthan 5 percent in the privately held La Jolla, Calif., company, AudreyKeane, director of business development for Sequana, told BioWorld.In return, Genentech will be given regular updates on Sequanaprograms in addition to its priority negotiating position.However, "a large corporate partner may outbid Genentech to acquirerights to develop all types of therapeutic proteins in a particular diseasearea," Keane said. In July, Sequana completed its first major corporatealliance, with Glaxo Holdings plc of London, that gives Glaxo rights inthe area of Type II diabetes in exchange for cash, research andmilestone payments to Sequana.Keane said Sequana is seeking "preferred partners," such as Genentech,in other specialty areas such as gene therapy and antisense."Due to Genentech's world-class capabilities the development ofrecombinant proteins, we would normally approach them with potentiallicensing opportunities," Keane said. "This agreement will helpformalize and accelerate the evaluation and negotiation process."Sequana, formed in 1993, has a number of collaborations withorganizations that have access to particular areas that would helpSequana's gene-mapping program. Target areas include osteoporosis,baldness, abnormal hair growth, obesity and Type II diabetes. _ JimShrine

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