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Incyte and Oxagen Launch Osteoporosis Genetics Program

NEW YORK, Jan 29 - Incyte and UK-based Oxagen have announced a collaboration, in which the two companies will jointly investigate genes related to osteoporosis for drug target validation and discovery, and Oxagen will receive access to Incyte’s LifeSeq gold database for use in its disease areas, the companies announced Monday.

The companies will analyze 3,600 samples from Oxagen’s Family Osteoporosis database, a collection of medical and genetic data from populations with osteoporosis, along with Incyte’s SNPs and novel genes, to look for associations between genes and bone mineral density, fractures, and other traits related to osteoporosis. The parties did not disclose financial terms of the agreement.

" The results of this collaboration could lead to genuine breakthroughs in novel tests and treatments for this debilitating disease,” Trevor Nicholls, CEO of Oxagen, said in a statement. “Moreover, access to the extensive Incyte database should significantly accelerate our progress in all our disease areas and increase our competitiveness."

Incyte said it would use this collaboration to further its drug target validation and drug discovery efforts. Incyte has used its Human Genome GEM microarrays, which have almost 50,000 gene clones, in gene expression experiments to identify candidate genes for osteoporosis. The company has also identified osteoporosis-related polymorphisms from its LifeSeq gold database.

This collaboration adds to Incyte’s array of partnerships with various research institutions to study disease .

The company recently partnered with the University of California-San Francisco on a collaboration to study prostate cancer and with the Maastricht Cardiovascular Research Institute in the Netherlands to study heart disease. It also has ongoing collaborations with Baylor College of Medicine to study the genetic causes of cancer in children; with the Roy Castle center for Lung Cancer Research in Liverpool, England, to study the role of genes in lung cancer; with Cambridge University to identify genetic causes of Type 2 diabetes; and with the Huntsman Cancer Institute of the University of Utah to study the genetics of colon cancer .

For Oxagen, a startup company that focuses on using family studies to understand disease-gene associations, the partnership comes in the wake of its successful effort, launched in September and completed December 21, to raise 30 million pounds ($42 million) in private financing.

Neither company was immediately available for comment.

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