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Molecular Mining Enters Drug Target Discovery Collaboration with Cytochroma

NEW YORK, May 1 - Molecular Mining is using its data mining software in a collaboration with Cytochroma, a Canadian company that uses genomic information to identify and develop drugs that target cytochrome p450 enzymes, the companies said Tuesday.

Under the arrangement, Molecular Mining is employing the software in a search for novel genes to serve as potential drug targets for Cytochroma. Molecular Mining has already identified hundreds of gene sequences that are homologous to cytochrome p450 sequences, Cytochroma said.

Cytochroma is paying an undisclosed fee to Molecular Mining, as well as "some sharing of the upside of things," in the event that gene-based drug targets yield marketable therapeutic candidates, said Robert Foldes, CEO of Cytochroma. The collaboration is open-ended, and will last for "as long as we want to explore genomes," Foldes added.

Cytochroma of Kingston, Ontario, decided to partner with Molecular Mining, because the company is located nearby, also in Kingston, and because its scientists were able to work with Cytochroma to develop custom algorithms based on Cytochroma's knowledge of p450 sequences, according to Foldes. The algorithms are based on a Hidden Markov model, Foldes said.

"Our collaboration with Molecular Mining has already yielded important insights into the complement of human genes that encode this family of enzymes," said Martin Petkovich, co-chief scientific officer of Cytochroma, in a statement. "What we have also gained from mining the human  genome is a means to tap into the genomes of other organisms of medical relevance including fungi, parasites, bacteria etc. The potential to identify new and valuable cytochrome P450 based drug targets is enormous."

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