Amyris said today its µPharmTM platform technology will be used by Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Biotech to develop a customized library of natural and natural-like biosynthetic compounds to test against a Janssen therapeutic target.

The value of the collaboration was not disclosed.

Under the research agreement with a commercial license option, Amyris plans to use the µPharm platform technology to develop a library of natural and natural-like compounds, then test the efficacy of those compounds in vivo for hits against Janssen’s identified target.

Amyris’ approach differs from traditional high-throughput screening, as µPharm starts with the target, identifies candidate natural compound structures, and then creates diversity around those structures for in vivo testing. Amyris said its approach offers the advantages of increased speed and enhanced efficiency in identifying hits while accelerating the time to market commercialization.

µPharm not only provides access to scarce natural compounds, but also creates new diversity based on natural compound scaffolds, the company added.

The platform technology represents more than a decade of experience in producing terpenoids. Using combinatorial design, Amyris said, it can produce more than 100,000 novel terpenoids derived from natural terpene scaffolds.

“This technology opens a new area of compounds that have never been accessible for new drug discovery,” Cynthia Bryant, Amyris svp, corporate development & collaborations, said in a statement. “This agreement is consistent with our overall business model of upfront development investment by a partner and an opportunity for a long-term revenue stream following successful commercialization.”

Amyris said the collaboration was facilitated by Johnson & Johnson Innovation, which offers funding, R&D expertise, business model development, and facilities and operational support to areas of strategic importance in Johnson & Johnson's pharmaceutical, diagnostic, consumer, and medical device businesses.

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