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Argenta Discovery Inc. and Almac Discovery Announce Contract Drug Discovery Collaboration in Cancer

2/5/2009 10:59:50 AM

Harlow, UK and Craigavon, UK 2nd February 2009 – Argenta Discovery Ltd., the contract research and Respiratory R & D company, and Almac Discovery Ltd., an independent member of the Almac Group focussed on the discovery and development of novel and innovative approaches to the treatment of cancer and associated conditions, today announced that they have entered into an important fee-for-service collaboration. Under the terms of the agreement, scientists from the two companies will work together to advance one of Almac’s portfolio of high-value cancer programmes from hit identification to development candidate. Argenta will provide computational chemistry and medicinal chemistry services and know-how, and Almac will contribute medicinal chemistry, biochemistry and in vitro screening capabilities and expertise.

Commenting on the agreement, Dr. Christopher Ashton, Argenta Discovery’s Chief Executive Officer, said, “We are pleased that Almac has chosen to collaborate with Argenta on this challenging project. Almac’s decision to work with us further validates our contract research team’s considerable experience in oncology-focused drug discovery, and underlines Argenta’s on-going commitment to providing a premium contract drug discovery service. During these challenging times, companies carrying out pharmaceutical R & D require, more than ever, a trusted strategic partner with significant industry experience to relieve the bottleneck in drug discovery – and Argenta Discovery is that partner. We look forward to building a long-term scientific and business relationship with Almac Discovery.”

Dr. Timothy Harrison, Vice-President, Discovery Chemistry at Almac Discovery said, "We are looking forward to working with Argenta on this drug discovery programme which forms a significant component of our effort to develop novel therapeutics for the treatment of cancer. Argenta is well-known and respected within the pharmaceutical industry for its high-quality medicinal chemistry-driven services, and was therefore a natural choice as a partner to support our discovery activities. Cancer remains the second highest cause of death in developed countries, accounting for 7.6 million (or 13%) of all mortalities annually world-wide, and this figure is forecast to increase to 9 million deaths by 2015. For this reason, it has become increasingly important to discover and develop novel and effective cancer treatments.”

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the agreement provides options to expand the relationship.

About Argenta Discovery Ltd. Argenta Discovery was founded in August 2000. Argenta’s contract research division provides integrated drug discovery services, comprising medicinal chemistry, computer-aided drug design (CADD), biochemistry, in vitro screening and DMPK, to a range of leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies world-wide. Argenta’s industry experienced scientists deliver rapid hit finding capabilities and have the skills to optimise early-stage compounds, quickly and effectively, into potential drug candidates.

Argenta Discovery has leading expertise in chronic respiratory diseases including Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Asthma and Cystic Fibrosis. Argenta is undertaking a number of internal proprietary programmes with the goal of taking these to the completion of Phase IIa ‘proof-of-concept’ in humans.

Argenta is located in the United Kingdom and has facilities in Harlow, Welwyn Garden City, and Slough. For more information, visit .

About Almac Discovery Ltd. Almac Discovery is an independent member of the Almac Group. The company is focussed exclusively on the discovery and development of novel and innovative approaches to the treatment of cancer and associated conditions, with the goal of developing a biomarker or diagnostic in parallel with each potential new therapeutic. Projects will generally be taken to clinical proof of concept (or earlier) before out-licensing or partnering for further development.

Founded in 2008, Almac Discovery is located in Craigavon, Northern Ireland. For more information, visit .


Christopher Ashton, PhD Chief Executive Officer, Argenta Discovery Ltd. Tel: + 44 1279 645 645 Email:

Timothy Harrison, PhD Vice-President, Almac Discovery Ltd. Tel: +44 28 3833 2200 Email:

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