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3 September, 2012 - 12:54 By Tony Quested

Japanese deal for BioFocus

BioFocus will use its drug discovery platform to deliver leads and clinical candidates for its client

BioFocus, based at the heart of the Cambridge UK science & technology cluster, is partnering Japanese pharmaceutical giant Ono in a drug discovery programme targeting disorders of the Central nervous system (CNS).

The Chesterford Research Park company – Galapagos’ service division – has signed a new alliance agreement with Ono Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. of Osaka.

BioFocus will use its drug discovery platform to deliver leads and clinical candidates for its client. Financial details of the collaboration were undisclosed. Dr Chris Newton, SVP Galapagos Services and managing director of BioFocus said: “We are delighted to have this new agreement, which is the first drug discovery program with this, a most valued, client.

“This project plays to BioFocus’ historic strengths and the expanding breadth and depth of this partnership is testament to a tried and trusted relationship.” Kazuhito Kawabata, a senior executive with Ono said his company had “the highest regard for the BioFocus’ comprehensive drug discovery platform.”

He added: “This collaboration will strengthen Ono’s drug discovery capability in the field of CNS disorders with significant unmet medical needs and we are expecting that innovative drugs will be created through this collaboration.”

BioFocus provides integrated drug discovery that delivers pre-clinical drug candidates in all therapeutic areas with strong capability in neurodegenerative diseases, inflammatory diseases and with a growing track record of delivering candidates against rare and neglected diseases.

The company employs over 250 scientists at its three research centres in the UK, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

Ono has been engaged in drug discovery research based on accumulated technologies and knowhow in areas where its strengths can be fully exploited (i.e. bioactive lipid agonists and enzyme inhibitors such as proteases and kinases).

Modulators of membrane transport systems such as ion-channels and transporters as well as biotech-based medicines are other areas of focus.

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