PRINCETON, N.J., Oct. 31 Pharmasset, Inc.(Nasdaq: VRUS) entered into a research collaboration and license agreementwith the University of Cincinnati (UC) on behalf of its Genome ResearchInstitute (GRI). The purpose of the collaboration between Pharmasset andGRI's drug discovery professionals is to identify active and selectivecompounds against antiviral targets for hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis Cvirus (HCV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
According to the terms of the agreement, UC granted Pharmasset access tothe GRI Lead Generation Library, which includes over 250,000 compounds.Pharmasset will also gain access to GRI's drug discovery capabilities,including high-throughput screening, computational chemistry and in silicodocking expertise, which are led by Ruben Papoian, PhD. UC granted Pharmassetcommercial rights for any lead compounds that are identified for HBV, HIV andHCV. Pharmasset will make an annual payment to UC in support of the researchcollaboration and shall be responsible for all development expenses ofproducts that may result from the collaboration. If a lead compoundprogresses through clinical development activities and achieves regulatoryapproval, Pharmasset will make certain milestone payments and pay a royalty onany net sales of the product. The specific financial terms of the researchcollaboration and license agreement will not be disclosed.
"The University of Cincinnati's Genome Research Institute has resourcesand expertise that will expand our discovery efforts," stated Dr. MichaelOtto, Executive Vice President, Pharmaceutical Research. "The GRI compoundlibrary, drug discovery platform and biology capabilities provide tremendousleverage for our internal efforts. We are very optimistic about the potentialof this collaboration."
"The research collaboration and license agreement with Pharmasset marks animportant step for UC's Genome Research Institute, as we strive not only todiscover new drug treatments with the potential to improve health, but also toprovide a meaningful fiscal return on our research investment," stated GeorgeThomas, PhD, Professor of Genome Science and Interim Director of GRI. "Webelieve that Pharmasset will be an excellent collaboration partner, as theirteam is very experienced in the discovery and development of antiviralcompounds."
About the Genome Research Institute
In 2001, the University of Cincinnati (UC) Academic Health Center receiveda gift of land and a 360,000 square foot facility in Reading, Ohio fromAventis Pharmaceuticals. The gift set in motion a two-year, $44 millionrenovation of the vacant building to create UC's Genome Research Institute(GRI). Nearly 40 principal investigators and 350 support staff and personnelwork at the GRI to advance life science research by combining the talents,creativity and resources of academic and industrial scientists to developtreatments for cancer, metabolic disorders and other diseases. Theinterdisciplinary research program at GRI features core facilities for drugdiscovery, proteomics, structural biology, protein production and animalphenotype analysis.
Pharmasset is a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company committed todiscovering, developing and commercializing novel drugs to treat viralinfections. Pharmasset's primary focus is on the development of oraltherapeutics for the treatment of hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus(HCV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
Pharmasset is currently developing three product candidates. Clevudine,for the treatment of chronic HBV infection, is enrolling Phase 3 clinicaltrials for registration in the Americas and Europe. Clevudine is alreadyapproved for HBV in South Korea and marketed by Bukwang Pharmaceuticals inSouth Korea under the brand name Levovir. R7128, an oral treatment forchronic HCV infection, is enrolling a 28-day Pha