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GEN News Highlights : Jul 12, 2010

Genentech Nabs License to MRC Technology's CNS Disease Candidates

Centre for Therapeutic Discovery says deal represents first major license with industrial partner.

MRC Technology granted Genentech an exclusive license to a series of small molecule drug candidates that represent potential therapeutics for neurological diseases. As part of the deal MRC Technology will receive an up-front fee from Genentech as well as clinical development milestones and sales royalties.

MRC Technology is the exclusive commercialization arm for the U.K.’s Medical Research Council. It says the Genentech license represents the first major small molecule deal signed with an industrial partner by MRC Technology’s Centre for Therapeutics Discovery (CTD).

“This licensing deal is just one example of the innovative ways that MRC Technology is now exploiting both its small molecule and therapeutic antibody capabilities,” remarks CEO Dave Tapolczay, Ph.D.. “We can collaborate with other technology transfer organizations, on a shared risk basis, to develop small molecule drug discovery programs and targets with therapeutic potential. When the resulting clinical candidate is subsequently licensed, both parties will not only accomplish their translational research aims but also share in its commercial success going forward.”

CDT was established a year ago to translate novel biology into lead-stage therapeutic assets with clear preclinical and clinical developmental pathways, MRC Technology explains. The center works in collaboration with scientists and clinicians from the MRC and other academic organizations worldwide to develop assays and medicinal chemistry programs from promising hits. CDT’s Therapeutic Antibody Group provides additional antibody engineering know-how and can deliver humanized antibodies within six months, it claims.

Capabilities at CDT include: medicinal chemistry and ADMET; the development of ready-to-run HTS assays; and computational chemistry spanning in silico screening, pharmacophore mapping, template hopping, and de novo design.