Start-up biotechnology company Avid Therapeutics Inc.announced last week that it has formed a strategic alliancewith Warner Lambert Co. to develop drugs to treat hepatitis Bvirus (HBV) infection.

The alliance combines Philadelphia-based Avid's proprietarytechnology for identifying small molecule drug candidates withWarner-Lambert's drug development capabilities and vastlibrary of pharmaceutical compounds. Warner-Lambert ofMorris Plains, N.J., is making an undisclosed equity investmentin Avid, as well as milestone and royalty payments.

Avid, whose primary focus is to develop anti-viral compoundsto treat both hepatitis B and C, is backed by $500,000 from thehealth care venture partnership of Oxford Bioscience Partners,of Stamford, Conn.

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