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Compugen Licenses Gencarta to Avalon in Drug Target Collaboration

NEW YORK, April 3 – Compugen has licensed its new Gencarta database of annotated genomic, transcription, and proteomic data to Avalon Pharmaceuticals of Gaithersburg, MD, and has agreed to collaborate with Avalon on drug and diagnostic target identification research, the companies said Tuesday.

Under the agreement, which spans two years and can be renewed for a third, Avalon will pay Compugen an undisclosed cash sum and will grant Compugen a portion of its equity. Avalon will have ownership of any drug targets discovered through the collaboration. 

“In addition to Gencarta, we’re going to help [Avalon] build a special custom query mechanism to enable the researcher to filter the mass of genomic and proteomic data,” said Nurit Benjamini, Compugen’s chief financial officer.

While Compugen did not disclose the amount of equity it will receive, the amount is not sufficient to make Compugen a strategic partner in Avalon, said Benjamini

Avalon is Compugen’s first customer for Gencarta, which Compugen released last month. Gencarta uses Compugen’s Leads algorithm to provide annotation of the transcription factors that bridge genes and proteins. Leads takes into account alternative splicing, in which exons, or coding regions, on one gene can combine in different ways to form different proteins  

“We have a unique technology that analyzes all the ESTs out there in the public domain together with the genomic data and clusters and assembles all the information according to our algorithm,” said Benjamini. “We get a better analysis of the transcriptome [then competitors], because we know how to analyze features like alternative splicing.”

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