Celera and Merck Extend Osteoporosis Collaboration
Rockville, MD - December 12, 2001
Celera Genomics (NYSE: CRA), an Applera Corporation business, announced today that Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE: MRK) has extended their osteoporosis drug discovery collaboration for a sixth year until November 2002 working with Celera’s South San Francisco operation (formerly Axys Pharmaceuticals, Inc.). This is the fourth extension for the research collaboration, which focuses on the development of small molecule inhibitors of cathepsin K, a cysteine protease target that has been shown to play a role in bone resorption.
The research supported by the extension is directed toward selection of additional clinical development candidates from the multiple chemical classes developed by Celera and Merck during the collaboration term. Cathepsin K is a member of a large family of cysteine proteases, and has been highly associated with the ability of osteoclasts to degrade bone, a condition which is exacerbated in osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a major cause of bone fractures and disability, especially in post-menopausal women. Inhibiting this excessive enzyme activity may slow or reverse this condition, providing a potential new avenue of chronic therapy.
In November 1996, Celera’s South San Francisco operation signed a two-year drug discovery collaboration with Merck to develop small molecule inhibitors of cathepsin K as a treatment for osteoporosis. In February 1997, Celera’s South San Francisco group published the three-dimensional crystal structure of cathepsin K. The collaboration announced attainment of in vivo proof of concept in an animal model of osteoporosis in December 1999.
About Merck & Co
Merck & Co., Inc. is a leading research-driven pharmaceutical products and service company. Merck discovers, develops, manufactures and markets a broad range of innovative products to improve human and animal health. Merck-Medco Managed Care, Inc. manages pharmacy benefits for approximately 60 million Americans, encouraging the appropriate use of medicines and providing health management programs. Through these complementary capabilities, Merck works to improve quality of life and contain overall health-care costs.
About Applera Corporation and Celera Genomics Applera Corporation comprises two operating groups. The Celera Genomics Group, headquartered in Rockville, MD, is engaged principally in integrating advanced technologies to create therapeutic discovery and development capabilities for internal use and for its customers and collaborators. Celera’s businesses are its online information business and its therapeutics discovery business. The online information business is a leading provider of information based on the human genome and other biological and medical information. Through the therapeutic discovery business, Celera intends to leverage its genomic and proteomic capabilities to identify drug targets and diagnostic marker candidates, and to discover novel therapeutic candidates. The Applied Biosystems Group (NYSE:ABI) develops and markets instrument-based systems, reagents, software, and contract services to the life science industry and research community. Applied Biosystems is headquartered in Foster City, CA, and reported sales of $1.6 billion during fiscal 2001. Celera Diagnostics has been established as a joint venture between Applied Biosystems and Celera Genomics. This new venture is focused on discovery, development and commercialization of novel diagnostic tests. Information about Applera Corporation, including reports and other information filed by the company with the Securities and Exchange Commission, is available on the World Wide Web at www.applera.com, or by telephoning 800.762.6923. Information about Celera is available on the World Wide Web at www.celera.com.
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,” “anticipate,” “should,” “planned,” “estimated,” and “potential,” among others. These forward-looking statements are based on Applera Corporation’s current expectations. 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) intense competition in the industry in which Celera Genomics operates; (2) dependence on customers in, and the risks that affect, the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries; (3) the risk that the Axys business will not be integrated successfully into Celera; (4) the risk that collaborations established by Axys will not be successful; (5) the risk that clinical trials will not proceed as anticipated or may not be successful; (6) dependence on the unique expertise of its scientific and management staff; (7) dependence on computer hardware, software, and Internet applications; (8) potential for government regulation of Celera Genomic’s or its customers’ products and services; (9) lengthy and uncertain development cycle for therapeutic and diagnostic products, and Celera’ unproven ability to develop or commercialize such products; and (10) other factors that might be described from time to time in Applera Corporation’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
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