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Metabolex, Yamanouchi Launch Diabetes Drug Collaboration

NEW YORK, March 20-Metabolex and Yamanouchi Pharmaceuticals today announced a multi-year collaboration to develop new drugs for diabetes and obesity.


The partnership makes use of Metabolex' database of genes related to insulin resistance and obesity, and its techniques for evaluating genes of interest in animal models and in vitro assays.


The two firms together will analyze 100 targets selected from this expressed gene database.


Metabolex will receive an initial payment and ongoing research funding, and may also be entitled to screening and development milestones, royalties, and co-promotion rights in North and South America.


Financial details were not disclosed.


"Metabolex has assembled one of the largest, most diverse programs in diabetes research of any biotechnology company," said Yamanouchi chief executive officer Toichi Takenaka in a statement. "Therefore, this partnership should allow us to discover and develop several promising product compounds."


Yamanouchi Pharmaceuticals, Japan's third largest pharmaceutical company, said last year that it plans to double its investments in genomics research to about $400 million during the next five years. The company supports internal and external research, manufacturing and marketing.


Metabolex, based in Hayward, Calif., was founded to discover new therapies for diabetes. It claims to have one of the world's largest databases of diabetes-expressed genes. The company is privately held.