Chromagen, Inc. has announced an expansion of its existing agreement with Merck and Co. to develop and supply a broad range of novel pharmacogenomic assays.
Chromagen will utilize its High Performance Signal Amplification (HPSA) platform technologies and StarBright fluorophores to develop assays for evaluating cell signaling pathways and genes that are emerging biological targets in Merck drug discovery programs.
The expanded collaboration represents a commitment by both companies to capitalize on emerging genomic information by targeting interrelated genes and gene products for drug discovery.
A major barrier to such discovery has been the need for biological tests to identify new drug candidates that have highly specific actions on disease-associated genes without evoking undesirable side effects.
Chromagen commercialises tests that simultaneously measure the expression of several genes in a single sample.
The tests make it possible to screen large numbers of chemical compounds for both desirable and undesirable biological activities.
During the past year, Merck and Chromagen have established a strong collaborative discovery relationship.
“The expansion of that relationship is an indication of both the value and the flexibility these technologies provide,” said Dr. Michael Conrad, President and CEO of Chromagen.
“We are experiencing increased interest from other collaborators in the U.S., Europe, and Japan in similar applications of the HPSA platform technologies to other disease states as well as genomic and metabolic testing.”
Merck & Co. is a global research-driven pharmaceutical company that discovers, develops, manufactures, and markets a broad range of human and animal health products, directly and through joint ventures, and provides pharmaceutical benefit services through Merck-Medco Managed Care.
Chromagen is a privately held company that applies proprietary fluorescence detection technologies to simultaneous multi-target assays for drug discovery and screening services.
The specific drug targets to be studied and financial terms of the new agreement between the two companies were not disclosed.