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ARGENTA/AMEDIS FORM DRUG DISCOVERY COLLABORATION.

Argenta Discovery Ltd, Harlow, U.K. has entered into a drug discovery collaboration with Cambridge-based Amedis Pharmaceuticals Ltd. Argenta will work to create a series of highly novel small molecule inhibitors of a selected number of medicinally relevant protease enzymes.

The work is focused on Amedis' broad patent estate of novel protease inhibitors, which has been generated using its proprietary chemistry technology. Amedis is applying this technology to the generation of novel molecules that selectively inhibit members of the metallo and aspartyl protease enzyme families. Compounds from this patent estate also have the potential to inhibit serine and cysteine protease enzymes. This approach provides the opportunity to exploit a wide range of therapeutically relevant targets across a range of diseases including bacterial and viral infections and cancer.

Commenting on the collaboration, Dr Anthony Baxter, CEO of Argenta Discovery, said, "We are delighted to be working with Amedis on a project which combines extremely sophisticated chemistry and biochemical assay development. It is further evidence that integrating world class chemistry and biology is extremely attractive to companies seeking to outsource in drug discovery."

Dr John Montana, CEO of Amedis, added, "Combining our proprietary chemistry expertise with the skills and critical mass that Argenta can bring to bear on this project will allow us to progress this exciting area of research rapidly."

About Argenta Discovery Ltd

Argenta Discovery is an independent discovery company providing peer quality contract services to both the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. Argenta draws on its industry experienced scientists to deliver hit finding capabilities together with the ability to convert and optimize hits and leads into validated, patentable chemical lead series and potential drug candidates. The company is currently working with Aventis, Pharmagene, Millennium, Adolor, De Novo, GlaxoSmithKline, Lundbeck and other undisclosed partners. Argenta also works actively on its own research projects, which do not cause conflicts of interest with intellectual property that it generates for customers, and can source targets via a unique relationship with London's Imperial College School of Medicine (Europe's largest medical school). Patentable lead series resulting from in-house programs will be available for sale or license.

Argenta operates in new, state of the art laboratories in Harlow and is served by nearby London Stansted Airport. Its scientific skills include computer-aided drug design, medicinal and combinatorial chemistry, high throughput analytical chemistry, molecular biology, biochemical assay development, automated molecular and cellular screening and in vitro ADMET screening.

For more information, visit http;//www.argentadiscovery.com or email info@argentadiscovery.com.

About Amedis Pharmaceuticals Ltd

Amedis is a fast-growing drug discovery company providing solutions to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries to improve the drug discovery and development process. The company's technologies are of immediate value to the pharmaceutical industry, and also have the long-term potential to generate new classes of therapeutics not addressable by conventional technology.

The company has two key technologies:

- Chemistry: Novel approaches to pharmaceutical medicinal chemistry with applications in drug recovery, improvement and NCE discovery

- In-silico computational biology: In-silico ADMET (Absorbtion, Distribution, Metabolism, Excretion, Toxicology) prediction based on genetic algorithm neural network software

Amedis plans initially to apply both technologies to the development of its proprietary drug portfolio both internally, and through a small number of collaborative partnerships with drug discovery companies. The recent collaboration announced with Boehringer Ingelheim is an example of such a collaboration.

Amedis was founded in April 2000, and received venture funding for its operations in May 2001 from Merlin Biosciences, TTP Ventures and Avlar BioVentures. The company is headquartered near Cambridge, England, and has research collaborations with Universities in the UK, US and Europe.

For further information, visit http://www.amedis-pharma.com.
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Publication:Worldwide Biotech
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Aug 1, 2002
Words:601
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