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Celera Grants License to Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) for Cancer Targets


4/10/2008 6:35:43 AM

ALAMEDA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Celera (NYSE:CRA - News), an Applera Corporation business, today announced a two year exclusive license agreement with Merck & Co., Inc. providing Merck with access to up to ten cancer targets for the development of RNA interference-(RNAi) based therapeutics. These therapeutic targets are over-expressed on the surface of several different tumor cell types and were identified using Celera's proteomics discovery platform.

RNAi-based therapeutics selectively catalyze the destruction of the RNA transcribed from an individual gene, enabling a novel approach to discovering drugs with the potential to produce highly specific, potent and long-lasting effects.

“This new agreement combines the strength of our novel proteomics target discovery and validation capability with Merck's expertise in developing RNAi based therapeutics,” said Steve Ruben, Ph.D., vice president of proteomic research at Celera. “This new relationship extends our ongoing therapeutic development collaborations and may lead to the development of tests that have the potential to become part of routine clinical practice in the pursuit of targeted medicine.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Merck will pay Celera a license fee for the exclusive access to the ten targets, in addition to the payment of development and commercial milestones plus royalties on selected targets that it advances successfully. Merck also has the option to extend the exclusivity period or add additional targets. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Celera will be able to develop and commercialize related companion diagnostics, or theranostics, that are specific to certain therapeutic candidates arising from Merck’s program.

About Applera Corporation and Celera

Applera Corporation consists of two operating groups. Celera is a diagnostics business delivering personalized disease management through a combination of products and services incorporating proprietary discoveries. Berkeley HeartLab, a subsidiary of Celera, offers services to predict cardiovascular disease risk and optimize patient management. Celera also commercializes a wide range of molecular diagnostic products through its strategic alliance with Abbott and has licensed other relevant diagnostic technologies developed to provide personalized disease management in cancer and liver diseases. Applied Biosystems serves the life science industry and research community by developing and marketing instrument-based systems, consumables, software, and services. Customers use these tools to analyze nucleic acids (DNA and RNA), small molecules, and proteins to make scientific discoveries and develop new pharmaceuticals. Applied Biosystems’ products also serve the needs of some markets outside of life science research, which we refer to as “applied markets,” such as the fields of: human identity testing (forensic and paternity testing); biosecurity, which refers to products needed in response to the threat of biological terrorism and other malicious, accidental, and natural biological dangers; and quality and safety testing, such as testing required for food and pharmaceutical manufacturing. Applied Biosystems is headquartered in Foster City, CA, and reported sales of approximately $2.1 billion during fiscal 2007. Information about Applera Corporation, including reports and other information filed by the company with the Securities and Exchange Commission, is available at http://www.applera.com, or by telephoning 800.762.6923. Information about Celera is available at http://www.celera.com.

Applera Forward-Looking Statement

Certain statements in this press release are forward-looking. These may be identified by the use of forward-looking words or phrases such as "believe," "expect," "intend," "anticipate," "should," "planned," and "potential," among others. The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 provides a "safe harbor" for such forward-looking statements. In order to comply with the terms of the safe harbor, Applera Corporation notes that a variety of factors could cause actual results and experience to differ materially from the anticipated results or other expectations expressed in such forward-looking statements. These factors include but are not limited to: (1) uncertain suitability of cell surface proteins discovered by Celera as targets for RNAi therapeutics; (2) the risk that products developed under this license agreement, if any, will not advance as anticipated, or may not receive required regulatory clearances or approvals; (3) the uncertainty that any products developed under this license agreement will be accepted and adopted by the market, including the risk that these products will not be competitive with products offered by other companies, or that users will not be entitled to receive adequate reimbursement for these products from third party payors such as private insurance companies and government insurance plans; and (4) other factors that might be described from time to time in Applera Corporation’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. All information in this press release is as of the date of the release, and Applera does not undertake any duty to update this information, including any forward-looking statements, unless required by law.

Copyright© 2008. Applera Corporation. All rights reserved. Applied Biosystems is a registered trademark and Applera and Celera are trademarks of Applera Corporation or its subsidiaries in the U.S. and/or certain other countries.

Contact: Celera David Speechly, Ph.D. 510-749-1853 David.Speechly@celera.com

Source: Celera


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