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Sequenom Forges Partnership with Morphochem

NEW YORK, June 7 – In a continuing effort to position itself within the drug discovery arena, Sequenom on Thursday announced collaboration with German-based Morphochem to discover and develop drugs for type 2 diabetes and cancer treatment.

The partnership announcement comes on the heals of Sequenom’s May acquisition of population genomics company Gemini Genomics. 

Morphochem specializes in multi-component reaction chemistry to create novel molecules tailored to drug targets.

“This partnership represents a critical step toward creating the highest value for the targets we discover,” Sequenom CEO Toni Schuh said in a statement. “Thus far, Sequenom has identified and prioritized more than 30 candidate genes for diseases that have a broad impact on health. Morphochem's powerful screening technology is able to rapidly validate these targets and facilitate their progression toward clinical development.”

Sequenom plans to leverage their MassArray technology in searching for markers and genes associated with a disease with Morphochem’s chemical genomics platform to validate drug targets and then develop compounds, according to the company. “Together we will commercialize the results from these efforts,” said Schuh.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The collaboration appears to fit into Sequenom’s efforts to do early-stage drug discovery independent of a pharmaceutical company. In May, Schuh said the downside of partnering with a pharmaceutical company is that you leave the “fundamental decision whether or not to take [the drug target] forward with the pharma.” Schuh went on to explain that a genomics company with a drug discovery capability holds a “trump card” enabling the company to proceed with a target without waiting for the pharma’s permission.

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