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Wyeth Accepts Drug Targets from Millennium, Which Earns a Bonus


CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--Millennium Pharmaceuticals here has an nounced that Wyeth-Ayerst Research has accepted three antibacterial drug targets from the company for drug candidate screening. The targets were identified in the first nine months of a collaboration between the two firms, qualifying Millennium for a milestone payment for each target plus a bonus for delivering the targets in less than a year. Wyeth is the principal pharmaceutical R&D division of American Home Products. Millennium makes heavy use of bioinformatics in its drug discovery activities.

"We are very pleased with the number and quality of targets that Millennium has provided," re marked Robert Levy, president of Wyeth-Ayerst Research. "One of the major challenges in addressing the growing problem of drug resistance is to identify antibacterial compounds that act through new molecular targets. All current antibiotics act by one of only a few mechanisms. With the acceptance of three antibacterial drug targets with nine months of our collaboration, Millennium is clearly meeting that challenge through its premier high-throughput target discovery program."

Millennium and Wyeth entered into the five-year antibacterial drug collaboration in December. It includes $20 million in committed funding, with additional payments for achieving research and product development milestones, plus royalties on the sale of products derived from the partnership. They also have a second collaboration, in diseases of the central nervous system, that was signed in July 1996.

In other news, Millennium also announced the appointment of Clare Midgley as vice-president of corporate communications. She came to the company from Fitzgerald Communications, where she built and directed the investor relations group, and also has extensive experience in the biotechnology field. At Millennium Midgley will head all investor relations and corporate communications efforts. "As a member of our operations team, Clare will be instrumental in enhancing our internal and external communications strategy," observed Steven Holtzman, the company's chief business officer.

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