Celera Diagnostics Announces Target & Marker Discovery Collaboration With Merck
Research to Focus Primarily on Alzheimer’s Disease
ALAMEDA, CA - July 28, 2004
Celera Diagnostics, a joint venture between the Celera Genomics Group (NYSE:CRA) and Applied Biosystems Group (NYSE:ABI) of Applera Corporation, today announced it has entered into a collaboration with Merck & Co., Inc. to identify novel targets for drug discovery and diagnostic markers related to Alzheimer’s disease.
Under the terms of the agreement, Celera Diagnostics will conduct a functional genome scan with the goal of identifying novel gene associations with Alzheimer’s disease. Merck will receive rights for therapeutic applications from the studies in Alzheimer’s disease, as well as for certain other neurological disorders, while Celera Diagnostics will retain rights for diagnostic applications from the studies. Merck will fund discovery research at Celera Diagnostics related to this collaboration. In addition, Merck will make certain clinical milestone payments and pay a royalty on sales of pharmaceutical products Merck commercializes as a result of this study. Additional terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
“Currently there are no definitive diagnostic tests for this devastating disease, which also has limited therapeutic options. We believe a better understanding of the genetic contribution to Alzheimer’s disease could some day result in new products to diagnose and treat the condition,” said Kathy Ordoñez, president, Celera Diagnostics. “This collaboration with Merck provides both parties with the opportunity to leverage the power of the disease association platform we have used at Celera Diagnostics to identify novel genetic associations in several important diseases.”
“Alzheimer’s disease continues to represent a significant unmet medical need,” said Dennis W. Choi, M.D., Ph.D., executive vice president, Neurosciences, at Merck Research Laboratories. “The collaboration with Celera Diagnostics provides us with the opportunity to scan the human genome for genetic variations associated with Alzheimer’s disease, which could have therapeutic implications and complement research currently underway at Merck.”
Celera Diagnostics' disease association studies compare genotype and/or gene expression profiles in large sample collections to identify genetic markers linked with disease. Celera Diagnostics is currently conducting large-scale disease association studies for multiple complex diseases, including cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, hepatitis C and diabetes. The company has discovered and replicated multiple genetic markers in several disease areas, some of which have been presented at scientific meetings and published in peer-reviewed journals over the last year. Last week, Celera Diagnostics and its collaborators reported novel findings at the 9th International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders.
About Celera Diagnostics and Applera Corporation
Celera Diagnostics is a 50/50 joint venture between two Applera Corporation businesses, Applied Biosystems and Celera Genomics. Headquartered in Alameda, CA, Celera Diagnostics focuses on developing new molecular and protein-based diagnostic tests to predict, characterize, monitor and select therapy for a variety of clinical conditions. The Celera Genomics Group, located in Rockville, MD, and South San Francisco, CA, is leveraging its proteomic, bioinformatic, and genomic capabilities to identify and validate drug targets, and to discover and develop small molecule therapeutics. It is also seeking to advance therapeutic antibody and selected small molecule drug programs in collaboration with global technology and market leaders. The Applied Biosystems Group serves the life science industry and research community by developing and marketing instrument-based systems, consumables, software, and services. Customers use these tools to analyze nucleic acids (DNA and RNA), small molecules, and proteins to make scientific discoveries, develop new pharmaceuticals, and conduct standardized testing. Applied Biosystems is headquartered in Foster City, CA, and reported sales of $1.7 billion during fiscal 2004. Information about Applera Corporation, including reports and other information filed by the company with the Securities and Exchange Commission, is available at www.applera.com, or by telephoning 800.762.6923.
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," "plan," and "should," 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 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) uncertainty in obtaining intellectual property protection for inventions made by Celera Diagnostics; (2) unproven ability of Celera Diagnostics to discover, develop, and commercialize diagnostic products based findings from its disease association studies; (3) unproven use of genomics information to develop diagnostic products; (4) uncertainty as to whether Celera Diagnostics will be able to obtain any required regulatory approval of its diagnostic products; (5) uncertainty of market acceptance of the its products; (6) availability and pricing of certain raw materials and equipment; and (7) other factors that might be described from time to time in Applera’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. All information in this press release is as of the date of the release, and Applera does not undertake any duty to update this information, including any forward-looking statements, unless required by law.
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