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GEN News Highlights : Nov 6, 2006

Ambit and Cephalon Partner to Focus on Kinase Inhibitors

Cephalon will pay $18M to access KinomeScan technology.

Ambit Biosciences signed a screening, discovery, and development collaboration with Cephalon aimed at bringing best-in-class kinase inhibitors forward as candidates for clinical research. By combining Ambit’s KinomeScan-driven discovery capabilities with Cephalon’s chemistry, discovery, and development capabilities, the partners hope they will be able to compress typical timelines for discovery and development of small molecule pharmaceutical products.

“While they are our fourth major collaborator, Cephalon is the first pharmaceutical company to take complete advantage of Ambit’s proprietary discovery platform,” says Scott Salka, CEO of Ambit. “The cornerstone of the collaboration is Ambit’s unequaled ability to screen chemical libraries across a panel of 300 kinases, which will be used to rapidly annotate Cephalon’s focused library of potential kinase inhibitors.”

Ambit expects to screen a large library of kinase-focused compounds obtained from Cephalon, generating nearly a million data points. The result will provide a detailed picture of how thousands of related drug-like chemical structures interact with this large family of drug targets.

Cephalon will pay an upfront fee of $18 million to Ambit for access to Ambit’s KinomeScan technology. In addition, the companies will collaborate on advancing two programs targeting undisclosed kinases, with Ambit having primary responsibility for delivering clinical candidates that Cephalon will further develop in exchange for additional milestone payments to Ambit of up to $232.5 million and royalties on commercial sales.