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GEN News Highlights : Jan 4, 2011

Genentech Taps AMRI in Research and Licensing Deal for Antibacterials

Genentech will get exclusive rights to candidates, and AMRI will receive up-front, license, and milestone fees.

AMRI agreed to a research and licensing agreement with Genentech to develop antibacterial products using compounds discovered by AMRI from its natural products sample collection. AMRI will receive an up-front license fee as well as funding for research.

Genentech will be granted an exclusive license to develop and commercialize potential products from AMRI’s antibacterial program. In turn, AMRI will collaborate with Genentech with the hopes of discovering novel antibacterial agents and will be eligible to receive development and regulatory milestones as well as royalties from Genentech.

AMRI’s bacterial infection program involves screening of the firm's natural product libraries for activity against Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli. The firm is optimizing one potential candidate, AMR-BAC-1, which exhibited efficacy in vivo at lower doses than vancomycin and an in vivo therapeutic index equal to and potentially better than vancomycin in a murine model of sepsis, AMRI reports.

Researchers at the bacterial infection program have been working toward the characterization and identification of narrow-spectrum antibiotics with relatively large in vitro therapeutic indices and cidal activity.

In April 2010, AMRI entered into a research collaboration with Navigen in which the company agreed to provide fully integrated drug discovery services. That same month, it extended a drug discovery collaboration with CHDI Foundation that focused on new therapeutic agents for the treatment of Huntington disease.

In addition to AMRI’s collaborative ventures, the company extended its scope through a series of acquisitions. In February 2010, the company acquired Excelsyn, effectively expanding its portfolio of development and large-scale manufacturing facilities. In June, it acquired Hyaluron, a move that bolstered the firm's contract manufacturing capabilities to include cGMP manufacturing and sterile filling of parenteral drugs to the biopharmaceutical industry.