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GPC to Build $120M US Genomics Facility for Altana

NEW YORK, Nov. 8 – GPC Biotech of Munich said Thursday it had agreed to build a $120 million genomics research center for German chemicals and pharmaceuticals company Altana, which will use the new facility to advance two of its drug discovery programs.

Under the terms of the three agreements that make up the five-and-a-half-year deal, Altana has committed $120 million to the center, which it will own, over the duration of the alliance. The new center will be based in Waltham, Mass.

GPC will receive half of that money from Altana’s pharmaceutical unit, Byk Gulden, in the form of upfront payments, technology licenses, and implementations fees.

Byk Gulden has also earmarked $50 million for internal research funding and technology transfer.

GPC is also expected to get an additional $10 million as part of a sublease and service deal. GPC may, in addition, receive undisclosed research, milestone, and royalty payments for products that come out of the new center.

In exchange, GPC will non-exclusively license genomics technologies to Byk Gulden and work with its partner on two of Byk Gulden’s drug discovery programs at a new center that will employ up to 55 employees. The companies did not disclose what areas the drug discovery programs were in.

"With GPC Biotech we have found an ideal partner to gain the technological know-how within the field of genomics/proteomics,” Hans-Joachim Lohrisch, a member of Altana’s managing board, said in a statement.

“We want to profit from GPC Biotech's experience as a transatlantic biotech company, in order to strengthen our presence on the US pharmaceuticals market with our own innovative products in the long run," he said.

GPC is a cell cycle expert and has 62 patents already issued for its technology and 180 pending.

GPC Biotech and Byk Gulden have two previously signed alliances. In 1998, the two companies began a collaboration in the area of anti-infectives. Earlier this year, the companies signed a deal for a drug target identification and drug discovery alliance in oncology.

GPC Biotech has two wholly owned subsidiaries in Waltham, Mass., and Princeton, NJ.

Altana is an international pharmaceuticals and chemicals group with sales of about 2 billion euros a year. Byk Gulden develops therapeutics and diagnostics.

The companies were not immediately available for comment.

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