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Exelixis Moves Into Metabolic Disease

NEW YORK, July 26 – Exelixis is expanding its internal drug discovery efforts into metabolic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity, the company said Thursday.

The announcement came a week after the company said it had established a major partnership with Bristol-Myers Squibb to identify genes associated with tumor suppression using its invertebrate and vertebrate gene knockout models. At the time, Exelixis chief scientific officer Geoffery Duyk told GenomeWeb that the company hoped to first focus on oncology in its effort to become competitive with major pharmaceutical companies.

Thursday’s announcement makes clear that Exelixis is not waiting long to expand beyond its initial franchise area. The company has had an ongoing research collaboration with Pharmacia since March 1999 to identify drug targets in Alzheimer’s and metabolic disease, but that arrangement is set to expire at the end in February of next year. When the program ends, Exelixis will have the right to pursue any targets that Pharmacia does not decide to move further into drug development.

“We are extremely pleased to move into metabolism, which to us represents many exciting opportunities for technical, financial, and medical success," George Scangos, CEO of Exelixis, said in a statement.

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