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Bionaut teams with AnalytiCon
May 2005
by Jeffrey Bouley  | 


CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—Bionaut Pharmaceuticals and AnalytiCon Discovery of Potsdam, Germany, announced in April a service and collaboration agreement to identify novel anti-cancer compounds that inhibit the ability of tumor cells to survive stress conditions.
"Tumors are often able to survive stress conditions because they have developed signaling pathways to regulate proliferation, angiogenesis and cell death. That includes surviving stress conditions that are created by chemotherapeutic agents," says Dr. John M. Sorvillo, Bionaut's chief business officer. "We have found a class of compounds that has shown the ability to inhibit cancer cells growth under stress conditions in a variety of in vivo and in vitro studies."
The challenge is these promising compounds are natural products, and natural-product-related chemistry involves relatively large, complex structures that are less amenable to de novo synthesis than are small-molecule candidates.
"We've been doing this kind of work for a couple years and what we've learned well is how to address very complex, large molecules with a synthetic approach," says Dr. Hajo Schiewe, AnalytiCon's director of scientific development. "We have natural product compounds collections for researching various healing analogues, and we have synthetic capabilities as well, so we can tackle the same problems from different sides.
"In the end, Bionaut had the right technology and good natural product, and it seemed like a perfect match to bring their biology together with our chemistry."
Bionaut will provide AnalytiCon with a series of compounds that have shown significant in vivo activity in various human tumor xenograft models and use its Sentinel Pathway Reporter System to validate new compounds. In turn, AnalytiCon will apply its natural product and medicinal chemistry expertise to optimize the activity and selectivity of these compounds for further preclinical development by Bionaut.
The relationship is still very new, so how long it will last remains to be seen. But Sorvillo says the relationship is starting off on a good foot.
"We had already transferred some materials to AnalytiCon, and we've begun work on some compound designs, and things are going very well," he says. "As for working with a European firm, that choice was in part due to the fact our head of chemistry had previous experience with AnalytiCon. The cost of getting chemistry done in Europe is less for some applications, and whether a company outsources its chemistry in the U.S. or overseas depends on the particulars of the work."
Code: E050519



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