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Viamet Pharmaceuticals, Novartis Option Fund Targeting Metalloenzymes in $200 Million Deal


2/22/2010 10:17:55 AM

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MORRISVILLE, N.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Viamet Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced today that it has entered into a licensing option agreement with the Novartis Option Fund. Under terms of the agreement, Viamet will utilize its proprietary Metallophile™ Technology to discover and develop novel metalloenzyme inhibitors against a specific metalloenzyme of high interest to Novartis. The agreement includes an upfront fee and potential milestones totaling over $200 million as well as product royalties.

"Viamet's Metallophile(TM) Technology is a powerful platform that enables the rapid and cost-effective generation of best-in-class metalloenzyme inhibitors," stated Lauren Silverman, Ph.D., Managing Director, Novartis Option Fund. "Metalloenzymes are a large class of enzymes, many of which are closely related, and finding inhibitors that are potent yet selective for a specific metalloenzyme can be very challenging. Viamet's Metallophile(TM) Technology offers the potential for the discovery and development of superior metalloenzyme inhibitors with improved safety and efficacy."

"Partnering with Novartis on this key metalloenzyme target provides Viamet with the opportunity to expand the Metallophile(TM) Technology beyond our current development programs," commented Robert Schotzinger, M.D., Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Viamet. "We believe that the Metallophile(TM) Technology can be applied to all metalloenzymes, which represents a large commercial opportunity that is beyond our capacity to pursue independently. Working with quality partners, such as Novartis, will allow us to fully exploit our technology and realize its full potential." About Viamet Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (www.viamet.com)

Viamet discovers and develops novel inhibitors of key metalloenzymes via an innovative and proprietary metal-binding approach, the Metallophile(TM) Technology. Viamet's disruptive Metallophile(TM) Technology is based on world-class expertise in bioinorganic chemistry and metalloenzymes and allows Viamet to identify metalloenzyme targets with high therapeutic and commercial potential, leverage existing metalloenzyme inhibitors as the basis for its novel analogs, and rapidly and cost-effectively generate superior compounds by optimizing the metal-binding component of existing inhibitors. Viamet is based in the Research Triangle Park region of North Carolina.

About Novartis Option Fund (www.venturefund.novartis.com) The Novartis Option Fund is a $200 million fund that is part of the Novartis Corporate Venture Funds. Established in 1996, the Novartis Venture Funds currently manage over $750 million in committed capital and are invested in more than 60 private companies. The objective of the Novartis Option Fund is to seed innovative companies through initial and follow on investment. The initial investment is coupled with an option to a specific therapeutic program providing early validation for the company's technology by a larger pharmaceutical partner. The Novartis Venture Funds team of eight investment professionals located in Basel, Switzerland and Cambridge, Massachusetts, brings together extensive expertise in the biotech and pharmaceutical industry and venture capital.

SOURCE: Viamet Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Viamet Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Neil Moore, Vice President, Business Development 919-467-8539

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