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Atugen Pens Target Validation Deal with AstraZeneca

NEW YORK, Oct. 16 – Atugen, a Berlin-based genomics company, said Tuesday it had signed a target validation deal with AstraZeneca.

Under the terms of the deal, Atugen will use its GeneBloc antisense technology to validate targets of interest to the British pharmaceutical company. The companies previously completed a target evaluation deal that dates back to 1999.

Atugen said it would develop GeneBlocs that inhibit expression, both in vitro and in vivo, of specific gene targets selected by AstraZeneca. The companies will jointly analyze the results.

"It is our expectation that atugen's antisense technology will play an important role in the process of selecting gene targets of therapeutic value from the thousands of novel genes recently discovered and in further validation of gene targets already of interest,” John Stageman, vice president of enabling science and technologies at AstraZeneca, said in a statement.

“Use of this technology should result in lower attrition rates and important savings in time and research costs for AstraZeneca," he said. 

Atugen will have all rights to the GeneBlocs its develops as well as an option to license some of the intellectual property that results from the deal. AstraZeneca will have the opportunity to expand the one-year agreement into a multiyear collaboration.

Atugen's GeneBloc technology can reduce gene expression both in vitro and in vivo by delivering specially designed oligonucleotides. Atugen's said its reagents are able to carry the GeneBlocs into cells of interest.

The companies did not disclose the financial terms of the deal.

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