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DiscoveRx Acquires KinomeScan Division from Ambit Biosciences

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – DiscoveRx today announced it has purchased the KinomeScan kinase screening services division from Ambit Biosciences for an undisclosed amount.

KinomeScan is a high-throughput method for screening small molecule compounds against a large number of human kinases. In a statement, DiscoveRx said that the addition of the service strengthens the company's position as "the market leader of novel, proprietary, and validated GPCR and kinase assays for high-throughput screening and profiling."

The acquisition will ultimately accelerate the discovery and development of new drugs, DiscoveRx added.

The company's collection of assays now consists of more than 400 functional cell-based GPCR and kinase assays and a panel of 442 kinase assays.

Based in Fremont, Calif., DiscoveRx develops, manufactures, and commercializes reagents, complete assay kits, and turnkey solutions for drug discovery and screening applications.

In an interview today with GenomeWeb Daily News, Pyare Khanna, president and CEO of DiscoveRx, said that after building out its GPCR portfolio, the next step for the firm was to tackle the kinase space. DiscoveRx offers its PathHunter brand of receptor tyrosine kinase assays, and the addition of KinomeScan supplements the company's existing portfolio of kinase-based offerings, he said.

His firm, he added, had been interested in Ambit's technology for the past six years.

Based in San Diego, Ambit discovers and develops small molecule kinase inhibitors.

The deal provides access to KinomeScan's customer base, and "we are now able to leverage this technology along with our own products and our sales force to access the market for kinases much more than they were able to do on their own," Khanna said.

During the first quarter of 2011, the company will add to the KinomeScan service its own panel of cell-based assays. "Our vision is to make the San Diego [site] a center of excellence for kinase screening services with not only Ambit's panel but with the PathHunter panel also," said Khanna.

A total of 18 employees formerly with Ambit will be transferred to DiscoveRx as part of the transaction.