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Athena, CombiChem Partner to Discover Drugs To Treat CNS Conditions

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SAN DIEGO, Calif.--The computational drug discovery company CombiChem here will collaborate with Athena Neurosciences to discover drugs to treat central nervous system conditions. Athena, a wholly owned subsidiary of the international biopharmaceutical company Elan, also made an equity investment in CombiChem.

The agreement gives CombiChem up-front, research support, and milestone payments. Athena will have exclusive worldwide rights to develop and market any products that result from the collaboration, and CombiChem will receive royalties on product sales.

In the collaboration, CombiChem will utilize its proprietary Discovery Engine technology to generate lead candidates. Athena has the right to use CombiChem's Universal Informer Library of compounds.

"This is a very significant collaboration for CombiChem and represents an excellent opportunity to apply our technology to multiple targets in yet another therapeutic area," commented Vicente Anido, CombiChem's president and CEO. Ivan Lieberburg, Athena's vice-president of research, added, "We believe CombiChem's advanced technology in small molecule drug discovery, coupled with Athena's proprietary assay systems, represent a truly exciting collaboration in our quest to identify treatments for Alzheimer's and other CNS diseases."

In other news, CombiChem announced this month that it has registered with the US Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering of 2.25 million shares of common stock, at an estimated price of $11-$13 per share. BancAmerica Robertson Stephens is the lead managing underwriter for the offering, with Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Securities and UBC Securities acting as comanagers.

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