Firm will exploit BioMAP technology for screening, lead optimization, and clinical candidate selection.

Asterand’s newly acquired BioSeek subsidiary signed a three-year drug discovery collaboration with Ono Pharmaceuticals focused on a specific target class designated by the Japanese partner. BioSeek will receive research funding and milestone payments in return for carrying out phenotypic screening for hit identification, lead optimization, and clinical candidate selection. Ono retains worldwide rights to develop and market all pharmaceutical products developed as a result of the collaboration.

BioSeek’s systems biology approach is based on its BioMAP® Systems platform of primary cell-based models of human disease biology. The technology is designed to replicate cell and pathway interactions that occur in human pharmacology and toxicology and generate unique human biological response profiles for each potential drug candidate. The resulting profiles can then be compared to reference profiles in the BioMAP Database.

BioSeek claims the approach provides an early insight into human pharmacological and toxicological properties of new compounds, including on- and off-target effects, dose responses, and the discrimination between closely related compounds.

Asterand finalized its acquisition of BioSeek in February 2010. The deal was originally announced in November 2009. It included an initial $1 million payment in Asterand shares and calls for an additional fee of up to $13 million in 2011 dependent on BioSeek’s sales growth during this year. The first $3 million of any follow-on payment due to BioSeek stockholders will be made in Asterand shares. If more than $3 million is due, Asterand can decide whether the payment is made in cash or shares.

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