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Pharma firms to collaborate on infectious disease drug discovery


New Haven, CN and Laval, QC April 16, 2003 Pharmaceutical companies Achillion Pharmaceuticals and Phytobiotech today launched a collaboration to discover new drugs intended to address novel infectious disease targets.

Under the collaboration, Phytobiotech will supply Achillion with purified, plant-derived phytochemicals from its library which Achillion will screen through its infectious disease target assays. The two companies intend to develop jointly the resulting drug candidates. Additional terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

“Compound libraries of natural products offer a rich source of chemical diversity, but often the pharmaceutically interesting compounds are difficult to separate from the mixture,” says Milind Deshpande, PhD, vice president of drug discovery at Achillion. “Phytobiotech has addressed this dilemma by creating unique small molecules assembled from plant cell cultures that are compatible with high-throughput drug discovery processes. From this collaboration we are able to exploit our infectious disease targets to screen for potential clinical candidates from an increasingly diverse chemical library.”

Achillion focuses on the discovery, development and commercialization of innovative small molecule drugs that combat drug resistance in infectious diseases. Its drug development pipeline is led by the product candidate elvucitabine (Beta-L-Fd4C or ACH-126,443), which is currently in human clinical trials for the treatment of infections caused by hepatitis B virus or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Phytobiotech concentrates on discovering and developing new drugs to treat cancer and infectious diseases. The company is building a portfolio of active new chemical entities based on its expertise in mining chemodiverse compounds from proven pharmaceutical sources.