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Axys, PPD Form Venture In Pharmacogenomics

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SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.--Axys Pharmaceuticals, a genomics-based drug discovery company with a strong bioinformatics platform, has formed a joint venture with PPD, a global provider of contract and consulting research and development services. The partnership will establish a new company, PPGx, to provide pharma-cogenomics products and services, including clinical genetic data warehouse and analysis tools, polymorphism identification and characterization, genotyping and phenotyping, DNA banking, and gene-based clinical diagnostics to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.

The companies said that the genotyping, phenotyping, and large-scale DNA purification and archiving technologies of PPD's pharmacogenetics subsidiary, Intek Labs, will be absorbed into PPGx. PPD will also provide staff and bioinformatics services and products from its former subsidiary, Belmont Research. Axys will contribute a license to its intellectual property, its proprietary bioinformatics software, and its Allele Frequency Database, a proprietary database of information on polymorphisms in pharmaceutically relevant genes.

Axys also announced last month that it has broadened its oncology research efforts and reallocated a significant amount of its research effort to oncology-related programs. The company increased its oncology research staff from 50 to approximately 120. Axys said it also eliminated a number of positions that were not supporting partnered programs or the oncology initiative. The move could save the company $7million-$8 million annually, it said.

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