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Athersys to Provide Bristol-Myers Squibb with Validated Drug Targets

NEW YORK, Jan 8 – Athersys has agreed to provide Bristol-Myers Squibb with access to its Random Activation of Gene Expression for Validated Targets (RAGE) technology, which produces human cell lines that express the targets, the companies announced Monday.

Athersys will use this platform to provide technology for six validated drug targets, but the collaboration could be expanded to include cell lines for up to fifty drug targets. Athersys will receive licensing fees for each cell line, milestone payments on candidate drugs, and royalty payments on sales of any products developed using this technology.

RAGE technology is designed to allow researchers to survey the entire human genome for proteins with a specific biological function and to quickly and accurately correlate protein function with gene structure, Athersys said.

“Bristol-Myers Squibb is looking for rapid and effective solutions to many of the bottlenecks facing us in the post-genomics era and target validation is one of the major bottlenecks," Elliott Sigal, senior vice president, early discovery and applied technology, Bristol-Myers Squibb, said in a statement. " Athersys' RAGE technology will allow us to leapfrog over one or more steps in the validation process which, in turn, will enable our teams to develop drug candidates more quickly."  

Athersys has also signed deals with Covance and Elan pharmaceuticals to use its RAGE technology in therapeutic discovery.

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