Affymax N.V. on Tuesday announced a research collaborationwith Ciba-Geigy Ltd. that will fund drug discovery anddevelopment with Affymax's proprietary technologies.

The companies have concluded a three-year agreement forAffymax to deploy its technologies on three molecular targetsCiba-Geigy has specified, with an option to continue if bothparties agree, according to David Singer, Affymax's director ofbusiness development.

Ciba-Geigy will invest in Affymax equity and will makeresearch and development payments. The companies are notdisclosing financial terms, Singer said, but the deal involves"a significant amount of money in total."

The targets for drug development were also not disclosed, butwere described as important in diseases such as cancer,arthritis and autoimmune disorders.

Ciba-Geigy will develop and market any compounds discoveredunder the collaboration and will have an option for exclusiveworldwide rights. Affymax will receive milestone paymentsand royalties on sales.

This is the second corporate partner for Affymax; the companyhas forged a similar alliance with Marion Merrell Dow Inc.

"It was our goal to do two deals like this by the end of theyear," Singer told BioWorld.

Affymax uses several technologies to accelerate the discoveryof new drugs. One approach, called VLSIPS, combines featuresof semiconductor manufacture, such as miniaturization,photolithography and parallel processing, with syntheticchemistry.

Affymax is a privately held, Netherlands-based corporationwhose research subsidiary is located in Palo Alto, Calif. InMay, the company raised $26 million in a private placement.

-- Roberta Friedman, Ph.D. Special to BioWorld

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