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Celera, Syrrx in Drug Discovery Partnership

NEW YORK, Dec. 12 – Celera Genomics and Syrrx said Wednesday they had formed a drug discovery research collaboration.

Structural genomics company Syrrx said it would use its technology for determining a protein’s structure to uncover the 3-D make-up of proteins Celera identifies as potential drug targets.

Celera said it would use the information generated through the collaboration to discover small molecule drugs. 

"Celera may nominate numerous and diverse candidate drug targets in a given year, and we now have access to one of the most advanced industrial processes for structure determination available to enhance our already strong internal commitment to structure-based drug discovery," Michael Venuti, general manager of Celera South San Francisco, said in a statement. 

Syrrx develops technologies designed to streamline the labor-intensive process of x-ray crystallography, in which proteins are isolated, then crystallized and zapped with x-ray beams.

Exact financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Celera said it would make research and development payments to Syrrx.

Celera’s drug discovery effort begins in its Rockville, Md., facility where its target discovery group uses high-throughput mass spectrometry to compare proteins in normal and diseased cells. After selecting optimal drug targets, Celera’s group in South San Francisco, Calif., then applies structural biology, medicinal chemistry, and screening to design small molecule drugs that can inhibit the proteins. 

In June, Syrrx announced a deal to jointly develop potential antibiotic drugs with Cubist Pharmaceuticals. The deal marked Syrrx’s first collaboration with a pharmaceutical company. 

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