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Novo Nordisk Validation Deal with Atugen May Yield New Antisense Targets

NEW YORK, Jan. 8—German functional genomics firm Atugen has struck a deal with Danish healthcare giant Novo Nordisk to jointly validate new targets for diabetes and related diseases, Atugen said on Tuesday. The partnership may also ultimately provide Novo Nordisk with its own portfolio of novel drug targets.


Terms of the deal call for Atugen to develop specially designed antisense oligonucleotides to block targets selected by Novo Nordisk. The two companies will analyze the experiments jointly in pharmacological assays and through animal models.


Atugen will receive upfront and annual payments, may receive future milestone and royalty fees, and will have the option to license intellectual property. The company will also have an opportunity to develop antisense therapeutics against targets that Novo Nordisk is not interested in pursuing, potentially providing the company with its own therapeutic portfolio.


Financial details of the arrangement were not disclosed.


Atugen's core technology allows high-throughput target analysis and pharmaceutical target validation. Its GeneBloc antisense technology works by inducing small DNA/RNA hybrid molecules to bind to and destroy target mRNA, a process that then can be correlated with functional changes to better understand gene function.

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