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GEN News Highlights : Oct 25, 2006

LibraGen and sanofi-aventis to Identify New Candidate Molecules for Infectious Diseases and Cancer

Collaboration applies noncultivable microorganism technology to discover new chemical structures.
LibraGen signed a partnership agreement with sanofi-aventis with the goal of discovering new chemical structures derived from noncultivable micro-organisms.

The global partnership is split into two phases, the first of which is a pilot. If successful, this may give rise to a long-term collaboration in which LibraGen will supply a large number of active extracts that have been qualified on antiinfectious or antiproliferative targets.

Initially, LibraGen will transfer to sanofi-aventis laboratory-extracted samples of existing noncultivable micro-organisms. sanofi-aventis will add these to its chemical library and thus access new unique compounds, produced under a reproducible process using LibraGen technology. Depending on their biological activity, these compounds may be selected either for optimization of their chemical structure via synthesis so as to enhance their properties or for direct pharmaceutical development.

"LibraGen's technology allows us to build up our supply strategy for natural substances by giving us access to sources of new molecules that have been hitherto inaccessible," notes Jean-Pierre Maffrand, director of discovery research at sanofi-aventis.

Sanofi-aventis will have the right to acquire and/or develop any of these molecules in return for milestones payments and royalties to LibraGen. The pharmaceutical group also holds exclusivity on part of the collection of original active extracts from LibraGen.