Houghten Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Northwest Neurologic Inc. havesigned a research and licensing agreement aimed primarily atdeveloping drugs to treat inflammatory diseases and pigmentationdisorders.Houghton's president and CEO Robert Whitehead said the two-yeardeal is a strategic scientific agreement, not a cash transaction.'This is a great marriage of our technology and theirs,' Whitehead toldBioWorld. He said Houghten, of San Diego, has expertise in'combinational libraries,' that is synthesizing large numbers ofcompounds or molecules that can be rapidly screened. And NorthwestNeurologic has developed the receptor technology to screenHoughten's compounds for new drugs.'We have the chemistry and they have the biology,' Whitehead said. Indescribing the significance of the alliance, he added, 'Most peoplebelieve that for companies like ours that have strong enablingtechnology, the key step into therapeutics is to get access to biologicalscreens.'Under the agreement, Houghten will retains rights to compoundsidentified as anti-inflammatory and related therapeutics. NorthwestNeurologic will maintain rights to all compounds in pigmentation andhair treatment.Roger Cone, president of Northwest Neurologic, said his company is aspin-off of Vollum Institute for Advanced Biomedical Research at theOregon Health Sciences University in Portland.It was formed in 1993 to focus on the use of cloned receptor andneurotransmitter transporter molecules to identify new drugs forneurological, endocrine and skin diseases. - Charles Craig

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