Selectide Inc., a peptide-based drug discovery anddevelopment company, has raised $6 million in a venturefinancing round.

Participants included The Global Health Sciences Fund,Technology Leaders L.P. and a group of private investorsassociated with International Technology Investment ManagersInc. (ITIM).

The Tucson, Ariz., company raised $4 million in previousrounds since its founding in October 1990 by Stephen Evans-Freke of ITIM, Arris Pharmaceutical Corp. President MichaelRoss and scientists from the University of Arizona and theArizona Cancer Center.

Selectide is collaborating with Arris and Sugen Inc., anothercompany founded by Evans-Freke, to identify peptidecompounds.

David Madden, Selectide's new president and chief executive,said the company is focusing on acute indications, but hedeclined to identify its disease targets. Madden was previouslyvice president of PaineWebber Development Corp.

The company's peptide library consists of millions of peptides,each of which is contained in a bead. The library can bescreened to identify the bead or beads capable of binding toany acceptor molecule, such as a cell surface receptor, anenzyme or a monoclonal antibody. Dyes are used to stain onlythose beads reacting with the acceptor molecule. The dyedbeads are then removed and the peptide sequencesdetermined.

An alternative screening procedure releases the peptides intosolution so that their effects on the growth of cancer cells canbe evaluated.

Selectide has exclusively licensed the technology from TheUniversity of Arizona. Patents have been filed on thetechnology.

The scientists who developed the process are Dr. Kit Lam, anassistant professor of internal medicine at the Arizona CancerCenter; Dr. Sydney Salmon, Regents professor of internalmedicine and the director of the ACC; Dr. Evan Hersh, professorof internal medicine and chief of the section ofhematology/oncology at the ACC; and Victor Hruby, a Regentsprofessor of chemistry at The University of Arizona.

-- Karen Bernstein BioWorld Staff

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.