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Asterand’s BioSeek lands another new contract as Amylin Pharmaceuticals looks for new peptides

Asterand’s (LON:ATD) BioSeek subsidiary has signed a one-year collaboration agreement with Amylin Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:AMLN), to discover peptides with a potential for treatment of a range of inflammatory conditions.

BioSeek will apply its predictive human disease models through its proprietary BioMAP platform, to screen Amylin's PHORMOL library. The collaboration follows similar agreements in recent years between the companies, involving peptide screening and related drug discovery activities.

BioMAP is a biological compound profiling and drug discovery platform. According to Asterand, BioMAP uses complex human primary cell cultures to replicate intricate cell and pathway interactions observed in vivo (in-the-living), providing meaningful in-vitro (within-the-glass) biology data which directly relate to human pharmacology and toxicology. 

"Our BioMAP human-based disease model is well-suited to assist Amylin in its search for new innovative treatments for inflammation. We look forward to assisting Amylin with this latest project, and other similar collaborations in the future", Asterand Chief Executive Martyn Coombs commented.

According to Asterand, BioMAP provides early insight into human pharmacological and toxicological properties of compounds, including on- and off-target effects, dose responses, and the discrimination of closely related compounds. 

In its morning note to investors, London-based stockbroker Daniel Stewart & Co highlighted that the unique BioMAP platform “allows for improved identification of lead compounds that offer safer and more effective therapeutic applications”.

According to the broker, the platform is well positioned to exploit the trend towards high throughput screening using human primary cells, and by using primary cells directly isolated from the human body, BioSeek is able to better engineer human disease models.

The Amylin deal is the latest in a growing list of new contracts since Asterand acquired BioSeek earlier this year. Most recently, on 7 June, BioSeek was granted a US$1.5 million extension to the US EPA’s (Environmental Protection Agency) ToxCast screening program.

The BioSeek acquisition was Asterand's first step in its "buy and build" strategy, which intends to consolidate leadership in the global human tissue and human tissue based services market. The company believes that BioSeek is highly complementary to Asterand's business in terms of both products and services offered.

Asterand completed the deal in February 2010. The company announced its plan to buy the privately-held company for up to US$14 million in cash and shares back in November 2009. It agreed to buy BioSeek for an initial US$1 million in shares, and up to US$13 million in 2011, subject to the level of sales growth achieved by the twelve months ended 31 December 2010.  The first US$3 million payment will be made in Asterand shares, and any additional payment will be in cash or shares, at Asterand's discretion.

Asterand is a provider of human tissue and human tissue-based research services to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies engaged in drug discovery research.