REDWOOD CITY, Calif.--Isis Pharmaceuticals and Genelabs Technologies, both with research grants from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which encourages drug development to combat pathogens used in biological warfare, entered into a collaborative agreement recently. Because the two companies share an interest in understanding how nucleic acids can be exploited as drug targets, the collaborative effort has the potential to significantly advance both firms' research objectives, they said.
The companies will collaborate to understand the basic properties of molecules needed to bind nucleic acids and will use the information in their respective drug discovery programs. Isis will provide chemical libraries of novel small-molecule compounds to Genelabs to test in its assays for binding DNA. Genelabs will screen these compounds in its proprietary DNA-binding assay, Merlin. Isis's drug discovery program will focus on RNA, while the Genelabs program will focus on DNA.