Amgen Inc. and Alanex Corp. announced a collaboration to developsmall molecule drugs that act through peptide receptors, with a focuson potential treatments for neurological disorders. It's the thirdcollaboration announced by Amgen in the past month.On March 20 Amgen, of Thousand Oaks, Calif., announced it wascollaborating with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in pursuitof joint research initiatives. A collaboration with Amcell Corp., of LosAltos, Calif., announced March 10, was made to develop andcommercialize products based on cell-separation and characterizationtechnology."It's supplemental to what we're doing in-house," Amgen's manager ofproduct communications, David Kaye, told BioWorld. "There's a lot ofinteresting research being done out there that has potential applicationsfor current Amgen products, or research we're involved in. We'reactively pursuing those kinds of collaborations."With Alanex, of San Diego, Amgen has made an equity investment andwill fund a renewable three-year research and development program.Also, Amgen will make milestone payments according to developmentbenchmarks and will receive an exclusive worldwide license todevelop, manufacture and commercialize products resulting from thecollaboration. Alanex will receive royalties on sales of licensedproducts.Amgen also will receive an option to collaborate on certain otherAlanex programs and will have an option to license Alanex's novelmolecular design technology, Alanet, which is used to extract structuralinformation to aid in development of new drugs.Neither company would reveal financial terms."We needed their resources, but also we perceived them as having thecharacteristics of being an ideal partner," Marvin Brown, Alanex'schief executive officer, told BioWorld. "The fit was perfect. We lookedat several opportunities for partnering and I believe Amgen was themost exciting, and the one that has the most potential for theexploitation of our technology as well as our products."

-- Jim Shrine

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