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Incyte, Odyssey Pharmaceuticals Collaborate on Protein Function Project

NEW YORK, May 9 - Incyte and privately owned Odyssey Pharmaceuticals plan to collaborate to characterize the function of proteins that are encoded by Incyte's proprietary gene transcripts, the companies said Wednesday.

The companies plan to start with 100 gene transcripts that Incyte scientists have associated with signaling pathways for insulin. To detect protein function for these transcripts, the two companies will use Odyssey’s Protein Contact Assay technology, which detects and quantitates protein interactions in vivo .

“Together with Odyssey we will validate as many of these genes as possible as drug targets for the treatment of diabetes," Incyte CEO Roy Whitfield said in a statement.

"We expect the combination of Odyssey's technology with Incyte's  genomic  information to enable the discovery of the most functionally relevant protein interactions and speed the identification and validation of drug targets, both in Incyte's internal programs and in collaboration with our pharmaceutical partners," Whitfield said.  

The parties did not disclose the financial terms of the agreement. 

Odyssey Pharmaceuticals of San Ramon, Calif., focuses on technologies that convert genes to drug targets and drugs. The gene-target validation technology distinguishes induced interactions from interactions that constitute the cell’s metabolism, and allows for the visualization of the protein assembly process in a living cell—whether bacterial, yeast, insect, plant, or mammalian, according to the company. The technology distinguishes specific and non-specific interactions using controls, and the results are produced using fluorescent, colorimetric, or luminescent readouts.

For Incyte, this collaboration is the second announced this week that seeks to utilize the company’s core content in applied genomics. On Monday, the company announced a collaboration with Genomic Health, a startup co-founded by Incyte founder Randy Scott, to develop consumer health-related products using Incyte’s genomic information. 

In the proteomics field, Incyte has previously sought to gain a foothold through the acquisition of Proteome, of Beverly, Mass. in late December 2000. Proteome specializes in deciphering gene and protein function through cross-species comparisons.

Neither company was immediately available for comment.  

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