MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., July 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Iconix Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today announced a services agreement with Merck KGaA. Under the terms of the agreement, Iconix scientists will compare several of Merck's compounds with compounds from similar classes of molecules and with marketed products to allow the Darmstadt, Germany-based company to gain insight into the safety of new drug candidates in the early stages of pre-clinical development.
In this collaboration Merck shows that it is one of the leading pharmaceutical companies that are applying in vitro toxicogenomics to understand the safety profiles of new drug compounds at early stages of development when limited amounts of drug compounds are available for testing. In vitro toxicogenomics offers the potential for companies to reduce the attrition rate of compounds due to safety problems in the later stages of drug development when those problems are far more costly. Iconix's in vitro database includes gene expression profiles on 119 compound treatments on primary rat hepatocytes and is based on pathology, toxicology, and pharmacology endpoints from the company's flagship in vivo database, DrugMatrix, the world's largest toxicogenomics database profiling over 600 benchmark drugs, toxicants and standards.
"By augmenting our in-house resources with Iconix's expert toxicogenomics analysis and reporting services, we are able to jumpstart a program that promises to give us a better picture of a compound's safety profile at an early stage of its development," said Dr Phil Hewitt, Merck KGaA.
"Companies like Merck KGaA are using this new in vitro approach to provide an early toxicology read on multiple compounds at lead optimization stage, and are seeing clear benefits by efficiently prioritizing the safer candidates for further development," said Dr. Donald Halbert, head of R&D for Iconix. "We expect that soon, the most competitive pharmaceutical companies will all be applying in vitro toxicogenomics to their decision making."
Iconix Pharmaceuticals, Inc., the leader in toxicogenomics products and services, has pioneered the integration of chemistry and genomics to enable the pharmaceutical and other industries to develop safer drug candidates and compounds. The company's technologies increase the odds of advancing the right candidates to the clinic, reduce attrition rates in late stage trials and help keep the costs of drug discovery in check. Iconix provides reference systems and universally recognized expertise to predict toxic liabilities, side effects and mechanisms of toxicity for drug candidates and environmental chemicals. Iconix's DrugMatrix system has been installed at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use by CDER (Center for Drug Evaluation and Research) scientists and reviewers in a range of toxicogenomics applications and is used by the US FDA to evaluate voluntarily genomic data submissions. The company has major research collaborations and technology alliances with Bristol Myers Squibb, Abbott Laboratories, and Eli Lilly and has strategic partnerships with leading life sciences companies including Affymetrix, MDS Pharma Services (TSE: MDS - News; NYSE: MDZ - News) and GE Healthcare.
Headquartered in Mountain View, California, Iconix was founded in 1998 and is privately held. For more information, visit www.iconixpharm.com .
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Source: Iconix Pharmaceuticals, Inc.