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Tata Consultancy Services Wins Drug Discovery Deal From Italian Bio-Tech Firm, Congenia



10/19/2005 5:09:05 PM

MUMBAI, India, Aug. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), a leading global technology services company, announced that it has entered into an agreement with Congenia, a biotechnology start-up promoted by Italy's Genextra SpA group, to provide advanced lead optimization solutions for drug discovery.

The agreement marks the first of its kind for an IT services company. The Life Sciences R&D Division of TCS will work on "P66" -- a target protein identified by Congenia as a key protein involved in several age-related diseases -- and will develop optimized drug leads based on the protein.

TCS will be using modules of its own product, "TCS Bio-Suite," to work on the target protein. It will screen a "virtual fragment library" of tens of thousands of potential lead molecules to predict which molecules might bind themselves to the target protein, thereby inhibiting its function. TCS will also produce a first-cut analysis of the ADMET (Absorption, Distribution, Metabolism, Excretion, and Toxicity) profile of the lead molecules.

The optimized lead molecules produced by TCS will be further developed by Congenia through animal trials and eventually human clinical trials. The work will be executed in the Advanced Technology Centre of TCS located in the Southern Indian city of Hyderabad where TCS conducts the bulk of its Life Sciences R&D activities.

A part of the wet chemistry and crystallography work will be carried out by TCS' sub-contractor, Altiora Ventures, in Israel. The biological assays will be carried out by Congenia in Milan, Italy. The contract has a duration of 18 months and incorporates payments based on the number of optimized lead molecules delivered.

"The Life Science sector has been identified as one of TCS' growth engines for the future. We have invested in developing competencies and research collaborations over the last few years and it is good to see that our investments are yielding significant results," said Mr. S. Ramadorai, CEO and MD of TCS.

"This is a historic occasion for TCS and the first contract where the deliverable is not software code, but a set of molecules. We are proud to partner with the Genextra group, a bio-tech pioneer in Italy, said Dr. M. Vidyasagar, executive vice president and head of TCS' Advanced Technology Centre, Hyderabad. "TCS is committed to putting in place a complete suite of offerings in the life sciences segment, spanning genomics and proteomics, database integration, drug discovery, and preventive healthcare."

Paolo Fundaro, CEO of Congenia, said: "TCS' competencies in bio-chemistry and computation techniques offer a unique value proposition. Using these techniques, we expect to obtain good lead candidates for a drug for pre-clinical trials and save time in R&D. In our discussions with TCS, we found great flexibility during the entire program design and real understanding of our needs."

Dr. Saverio Minucci, Scientific Director of Congenia said: "We found TCS to be very innovative when we started talking to them. We considered other alternatives but we liked the TCS team and liked who we met right from the beginning."

About Tata Consultancy Services Ltd (TCS)

Tata Consultancy Services Limited (TCS) is the world leading information technology consulting, services, business process outsourcing and engineering services organization that envisioned and pioneered the adoption of the flexible global business practices that today enable companies to operate more efficiently and produce more value. TCS achieved this by creating and perfecting a unique method of global deployment and delivery of high quality, high value services and products in IT consulting and business process outsourcing. Known as the "Global Delivery Model," this strategic services delivery concept has reshaped the IT services industry.

More than 75% of TCS customers reward the company's reliability, passion, creativity, and unique ability to handle the broadest range of their IT needs by continually extending and deepening their partnerships with TCS. With over 40,000 of the world's best trained IT consultants located in 33 countries, TCS is uniquely positioned to deliver its flexible world class services seamlessly to any location. TCS reported consolidated revenues of $2.24 billion (U.S.) in the fiscal year 2004-2005. The company is listed on the National Stock Exchange and Bombay Stock Exchange in India. For more information: www.tcs.com

About Congenia and Genextra

Congenia, which is 100% owned by Genextra SpA, is a drug discovery company active in research and development in the fields of biotechnology, biomedicine and functional genomics with particular focus on cancer pathologies related to aging and degenerative cell disorders. The company holds the patent for the research and commercial utilization of the gene p66.

Genextra is an holding company investing in start-ups in the fields of pharmacogenomics and biotechnologies. Genextra, taking advantage of the knowledge that can be collected and developed in the post-genomic era, invests in research aimed at the prevention, diagnosis, therapy and prognosis of diseases linked to aging.

Tata Consultancy Services Ltd

CONTACT: Breanne Bell, TCS Corporate Communications, +1-303-573-0943,b.bell@usa-tcs.com; Maya Lee, Fleishman-Hillard for TCS, +1-212-453-2317,leemay@fleishman.com


Read at BioSpace.com


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