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Tranzyme Acquires Canadian Drug Maker Neokimia

NEW YORK, Dec. 18 (GenomeWeb News) - Tranzyme has acquired Québec-based Neokimia, the companies said today.


Financial details were not disclosed. However, Vipin Garg, president and CEO of Tranzyme, said both companies were valued at around $7.5 million at the time of the deal. 


Additionally, the new company, which will focus on developing drugs that target the so-called "brain-gut"axis, will get a head start thanks to $6 million in new convertible notes received today, and will now be worth approximately $21 million, said Garg. The firm will retain the Tranzyme name.


The new company will combine Tranzyme's platforms in functional biology with Neokimia's medicinal chemistry platform. The new company will also have a portfolio of drug candidates in late-stage lead optimization and anticipates having two compounds in clinical development in 2005, Tranzyme and Neokimia said in a statement.


Tranzyme has traditionally used its gene-delivery and gene-expression technologies to focus on developing therapeutics for neurosensory diseases. Neokimia, in turn, has used its medicinal chemistry platform synthesize small cyclic compounds, and has developed several lead compounds for gastrointestinal disorders and metabolic diseases.


The compounds that Neokimia developed have shown "high activity" on G-protein coupled receptors and other cell-surface receptors expressed in the gastrointestinal tract and neurosensory system, including the brain. Tranzyme, meantime, has used its technology to build biological systems for drug discovery that express these targets. The new company, therefore, will try to develop therapeutics for diseases related to the brain-gut axis.


Tranzyme will maintain its existing facility in Research Triangle Park, NC, as the "focal point" for its functional biology program, and will continue its drug-discovery operations at Neokimia's chemistry facility in Sherbrooke, Québec. Garg will become president and CEO of the new company. Caroline Fortier, president and CEO of Neokimia, will step down and leave company.


The new company will employ 45 people: 20 from Tranzyme's facilities in Research Triangle Park and Birmingham, Ala., and 25 from Neokimia's operations in Québec. Garg said he does not expect their to be layoffs.


The new company will continue to license its technology platforms with collaborations, the companies said.

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