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Aurora Biosciences and Hyseq Announce Drug Development Collaboration, License Agreement

NEW YORK, July 12 - Aurora Biosciences and  Hyseq  have entered into a two-year agreement to share their technologies in order to develop small molecule drug and protein therapeutic candidates, the companies said Wednesday.

Aurora will use its CellSensor panel to screen Hyseq’s orphan secreted protein collection for targets, and will non-exclusively license some of its fluorescent protein technologies to Hyseq. Hyseq will also grant Aurora access to several novel targets from database of full-length cDNAs. 

Under the agreement, Hyseq will provide Aurora with upfront payments, licensing fees, and technology access fees; as well as possible development milestone payments and royalties on any products Hyseq develops from the collaboration. Aurora will pay Hyseq a database access fee and licensing fees for the cDNAs, and may pay Hyseq milestone payments and royalties on small molecule products that emerge from the partnership, the companies said.

Aurora said this collaboration would provide a boost to both its screening tools and its drug discovery efforts.

"We believe that our proprietary CellSensor Panel will become an important tool for characterizing proteins, compounds and cDNAs, and we look forward to working with  Hyseq  to add value to their collections of orphan secreted proteins,” Michael Dunn, Aurora's vice president of business development, said in a statement. “At the same time, we gain access to blocks of interesting and proprietary targets from  Hyseq's  extensive gene collection for Big Biology, our small molecule drug discovery program." 

Hyseq, which has changed course in recent months from pursuing microarray technology and databases, to go after pharmaceutical development, also indicated the Aurora deal would strengthen its position in this area.

"We believe Aurora's validated suite of screening technologies and bioassays will enable further characterization of  Hyseq's  secreted proteins and targets to reveal those with the greatest clinical and commercial potential,” Ted Love,  Hyseq's  chief executive, said in a statement.

The CellSensor Panel is an array of cell lines that express the marker gene beta-lactamase when certain signal transduction pathways are modified by outside stimuli. Researchers can apply small molecules, cDNAs, proteins, antibodies, or other substances to the panel to observe the effect of a particular substance on the cell. 


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