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Vernalis signs research agreement with AstraZeneca

17 October 2003

Vernalis today announced that it has signed an initial research agreement with AstraZeneca. Under the agreement between the two companies, AstraZeneca will use Vernalis' structure-based drug discovery (SBDD) technology to investigate a number of proprietary AstraZeneca compounds against certain anti-infective drug targets. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The Vernalis SBDD technology platform exploits the detailed molecular structure of drug targets to drive the discovery and design of novel therapeutic molecules. Novel compounds are discovered through a combination of proprietary molecular docking calculations and fragment-based methods. High throughput crystallographic methods reveal the atomic detail of the binding mode of the compounds, guiding rational design of the desired drug-like properties. The effective integration of these structural, computational and medicinal chemistry methods allows rapid progression of lead candidate molecules, improving the quality and speed of the drug discovery process.

Commenting on the agreement, Mr Simon Sturge, Chief Executive Officer of Vernalis stated: \"We are delighted to be collaborating with AstraZeneca in structure-based drug discovery. This is an example of how our leading-edge technology can be applied.\"

Dr Mark Wuonola, Director of Infection Strategy, Infection Discovery at AstraZeneca said: \"Vernalis offered us a unique way to progress our understanding of compounds that are of great interest to AstraZeneca as potential new anti-infective drugs. We look forward to working with their structure-based drug discovery experts.\"

The SBDD technology was developed by RiboTargets and acquired by British Biotech in April 2003 as part of their merger. British Biotech then merged with Vernalis Group plc in July 2003, and the combined group is now known as Vernalis.


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