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ASTELLAS' SCREENING TRIGGERS MILESTONE PAYMENT TO METABOLEX.

Metabolex, Inc., Hayward, Calif., a biotechnology company dedicated to the discovery and development of novel therapeutics for diabetes and related metabolic disorders, announced today that Astellas Pharma Inc. has begun high- throughput screening against another target from Metabolex's proprietary database of human genes associated with insulin resistance and obesity in order to identify potential drug candidates.

"This validated target has a unique pattern of expression and may eventually lead to novel approaches to address insulin resistance, an underlying cause of type 2 diabetes," said Harold E. Van Wart, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer of Metabolex. "Astellas' decision to begin screening this target from Metabolex's gene library further underscores our expertise in understanding the molecular underpinnings of insulin resistance."

The move to screen the target triggered an undisclosed milestone payment to Metabolex and marks the latest accomplishment of a four-year partnership between Metabolex and Astellas. The two companies initiated a research and drug discovery collaboration with the goal of identifying candidate compounds from the validated drug targets and advancing them into development for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, impaired glucose tolerance and obesity. The companies have identified more than 10 targets during their collaboration. Metabolex could receive royalties on eventual sales of any product emerging from the collaboration and will retain co-promotion rights in North and South America.

About Metabolex

Metabolex is a privately held biotechnology company dedicated to the discovery and development of novel therapeutics to transform the treatment of diabetes and related metabolic disorders. Metabolex has drawn on its deep understanding of diabetes to create the largest database of genes involved in diabetes and to build a rich pipeline of product candidates and drug discovery targets. The company's clinical program is focused on developing next-generation insulin sensitizers that lower blood glucose without the serious safety and tolerability issues associated with currently marketed products. Metabolex is partnering with Ortho-McNeil, a Johnson & Johnson company, to develop and commercialize products for diabetes and metabolic disease, including Metabolex's lead drug candidate, metaglidasen, a second-generation insulin sensitizer now in a Phase 2/3 clinical trial.

For more information, visit http://www.metabolex.com or call 510/293-8800.

About Astellas Pharma Inc.

Astellas Pharma Inc., located in Tokyo, is a pharmaceutical company dedicated to improving the health of people around the world through the provision of innovative and reliable pharmaceutical products. In April 2005, the company was formed through the merger of Fujisawa Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. and Yamanouchi Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. The organization is committed to becoming a global mega pharmaceutical company by combining outstanding R&D and marketing capabilities and continuing to grow in the world pharmaceutical market.

For more information, visit http://www.astellas.com.
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Publication:Worldwide Biotech
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2006
Words:447
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