ALBANY, N.Y.—Albany Molecular Research Inc. (AMRI) announced in mid-July a two-year research collaboration with the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) which has a goal of identifying potential drug targets for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a degenerative neuromuscular disease. SMA causes muscle wasting and can result in death in its most severe form.
Under the terms of the agreement, AMRI will provide medicinal chemistry lead optimization based on lead scaffolds provided by NINDS which have shown promise of producing target compounds. AMRI can retain rights to intellectual property related to medicinal chemistry methods derived from the work, as well as commercial rights to discovered products.
The two-year time frame on the project is a rough estimate of the time anticipated to develop a drug candidate. "We could find it tomorrow, though that isn't very likely," says David Fairfax, assistant director of medicinal chemistry for AMRI. "There is a rough idea of where we want to be and I think the idea for NINDS is they'd like to have a clinical candidate by 2007."
AMRI would not release specific details of the number of researchers dedicated to the project or the financial terms, though David Albert, director of communications says "we view all projects as significant and this one is no different. One of the benefits for us to be involved in the research in a therapeutics area where there are very few options at this point."