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AstraZeneca, atugen Enter Validation, Drug-Discovery Alliance

NEW YORK, Oct. 16 – German biotech company atugen and AstraZeneca plan to use atugen’s GeneBloc technology to enhance target validation and drug development in an undisclosed number of “major disease areas” of interest to AstraZeneca.

Terms of the deal call for Berlin-based atugen to retain all rights to specific GeneBlocs it develops for the drugs giant and will have an option to license certain intellectual property generated in the collaboration, according to a statement.

AstraZeneca, in turn, will have the opportunity to expand into a multiyear collaboration a one-year agreement both firms signed in August 1999 that seeks to validate their libraries of genomic targets.

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

"It is our expectation that atugen's antisense technology will play an important role in the process of selecting gene targets of therapeutic value from the thousands of novel genes recently discovered and in further validation of gene targets already of interest,” John Stageman, vice president of Enabling Science and Technologies at AstraZeneca said in the statement. “Use of this technology should result in lower attrition rates and important savings in time and research costs for AstraZeneca."

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