Celera Announces Achievement of Research Milestone in Aventis Collaboration
Rockville, MD - January 10, 2002
Celera Genomics (NYSE: CRA), an Applera Corporation business, today announced that the company had received an additional research milestone payment from Aventis Pharma, the pharmaceutical company of Aventis (NYSE:AVE), as part of the Cathepsin S inhibitor collaboration between the companies. This achievement represents the fourth and last in a series of research milestone criteria that mark the selection and advancement of individual Cathepsin S inhibitors for development as drugs for inflammation and autoimmune disease.
The most recent milestone payment recognizes selection of Celera Cathepsin S inhibitor compounds as Early Development Candidates (EDC) for inflammation and autoimmune diseases. At Aventis, EDC nomination is the final step prior to the initiation of preclinical development activities. The Celera collaboration with Aventis Pharma was initiated with Rhône-Poulenc Rorer, a predecessor of Aventis Pharma, in late 1998. Under the terms of this collaboration, Aventis Pharma has worldwide development rights for all collaboration compounds in a broad range of therapeutic areas related to inflammation and autoimmune disease. As part of this collaboration, Aventis Pharma is investigating the use of Cathepsin S inhibitors in a number of specific therapeutic areas.
Cathepsin S is a member of a large family of cysteine proteases, enzymes that are responsible for the cleavage and breakdown of other natural proteins in normal biological processes. In disease conditions, cysteine proteases can often be misregulated, providing an entry point for drug intervention. Cathepsin S has been highly associated with the processing and activation of the antigen receptor called MHC-II, essential for the initiation of both normal and pathological immune responses mediated by T-cells. Drugs to inhibit this enzyme could provide a novel method for control of antigen-induced response in multiple inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The results of previous studies confirmed the proposed mechanism of action for inhibitors of Cathepsin S after oral administration of a test compound. The collaboration between Aventis Pharma and Celera has utilized a structure-based drug design technology platform, including X-ray crystallography and medicinal chemistry, to provide a novel series of potent and selective Cathepsin S inhibitors to Aventis Pharma for pharmacological evaluation and possible development.
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) dependence on customers in, and the risks that affect, the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries; (2) potential for government regulation of Celera Genomics’ or its customers’ products and services; (3) lengthy and uncertain development cycle for therapeutic and diagnostic products; and (4) 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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