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Bayer Extends Functional Genomics Research Collaboration with Paradigm Genetics

NEW YORK, June 19 - An ongoing agreement Paradigm Genetics has with Bayer to perform contract research in functional genomics was extended for an additional five years, the companies said Tuesday.

The collaboration, to develop new agricultural herbicides, could generate as much as $30 million in revenue, including milestone payments, for Paradigm Genetics, a Research Triangle Park, NC-based company that identifies genes with functions useful for human health and agriculture. Paradigm will receive additional payment for any products that reach the market.

Under the partnership, which began in 1998, Paradigm performs gene expression and gene knockout studies of the Arabidopsis thaliana genome to identify genes potentially important in the functioning of pesticides. Paradigm provides Bayer with the genetic information, a metabolic profile of the gene's function, and assays that Bayer can use to investigate the findings at its high-throughput screening facility in Germany.

The new agreement commits Bayer to providing Paradigm with research funding for the next three years, with the option of extending the partnership for another two years. If Bayer extends the deal to the full five years, Paradigm will receive $17 million in committed research funding, and $13 million in fees for assays the company delivers to Bayer, a Paradigm company spokeswoman said.

Bayer might decide not to agree to the full five years of the partnership if they felt they had too many targets or changed their strategy, the spokeswoman said, but she added that "the relationship is going quite well" and that Bayer was obviously pleased with the work Paradigm has done so far.

"Our decision to extend and expand our partnership with Paradigm Genetics was based on the high level of success we have had to date," Detlef Wollweber, research director for crop protection at Bayer, said in a statement. "Paradigm continues to provide us with many validated herbicide targets, high- throughput screening assays, and together we are building a strong intellectual property position to secure the use of these technologies in herbicide research."

Paradigm also has ongoing research collaborations with Lion Bioscience to develop and market a new plant and fungal metabolic profiling database, and with Monsonto to identify gene targets associated with improved crop production and nutrition.

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