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Cubist Pharmaceuticals Partners with Syrrx to Determine Structures for Drug Targets

NEW YORK, June 27 - Syrrx and Cubist Pharmaceuticals have entered a deal to jointly develop potential antibiotic drugs, the companies said Tuesday. 

Cubist will make an undisclosed equity investment in Syrrx, and in return Syrrx will attempt to determine the three-dimensional structures of protein drug targets that Cubist has identified through its own discovery efforts. Once Syrrx has resolved the protein structures, the two companies will work together to design the small molecule inhibitors for the targets. Both Syrrx and Cubist have computation capabilities that are important for designing protein inhibitors.

The two companies will also jointly decide which targets will move forward into medicinal chemistry efforts to synthesize and test the actual small molecule compounds. However, the agreement includes an undisclosed formula for deciding which company will have the right to move forward with a particular drug target. In some cases, Syrrx and Cubist may pursue medicinal chemistry efforts for certain targets alone, and in other cases the two companies will jointly develop the compounds. 

Other than the initial equity investment in Syrrx, Cubist's milestone payments are all "success-based," according to a spokeswoman, and are paid to Syrrx only when Cubist makes progress in its medicinal chemistry efforts to develop drugs against the protein targets Syrrx helped study. 

Cubist's targets are primarily derived from bacterial and fungal genes, and the company has confirmed that the genes are essential for the organisms' survival, the company said in a statement.

Cubist has a market capitalization of $925 million. A Cubist spokeswoman said that the company's investment in Syrrx was not large, but that the investment "shows we have a lot of confidence in Syrrx."  
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