Aquapharm and AMRI enter into a novel marine chemistry collaboration (Collegehill)

09:01 EDT 10 Aug 2010 | BioPortfolio

Research agreement combines leading expertise in terrestrial and marine derived natural product libraries

Oban, Scotland, UK – 7th July 2010 – Aquapharm Biodiscovery, a leading marine biotechnology company, announced today it has signed a research agreement with Albany Molecular Research (NASDAQ: AMRI) to identify novel drug-like compounds and scaffolds with anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory activity from Aquapharm’s marine natural products library derived from its extensive collection of marine micro-organisms.

Under the terms of this agreement, drawing on its substantial experience and expertise from previous screening campaigns with its terrestrial natural products library, AMRI will screen Aquapharm’s library against Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria and an undisclosed anti-inflammatory target and will isolate and elucidate the structures of novel hits. Aquapharm retains all rights to compounds resulting from the collaboration.

The collaboration represents a major step-forward for Aquapharm in realising the potential of its unique marine assets and expertise in the Pharmaceutical sector. This builds on its established deals with Croda to develop novel bio-active ingredients for the Personal Care industry and Dr Reddy’s to develop bio-catalysts, thus maximising the exploitation of the marine collection in producing a broad and diverse chemical library.

On signing of the agreement, Aquapharm CEO Simon Best said “We are confident that this collaboration will exploit the novelty, diversity and drug-like characteristics of the compounds which we know from pilot studies are abundantly produced by marine micro-organisms. These represent a virtually untapped source of compounds and scaffolds with many attractive characteristics to form the basis of numerous drug-discovery partnerships.”

“We have a wealth of experience accumulated from developing and mining our own extensive terrestrial natural product library, and we are pleased to apply this experience to Aquapharm’s marine derived library. It’s a new and exciting opportunity” said AMRI Vice President, Discovery Research and Development Bruce Sargent, Ph.D.

Initial results from this research agreement are expected during 2011. AMRI has broad screening capabilities and moreover particular expertise in seeking antibacterial natural products, having successfully completed its own internal screen of its collections yielding multiple lead compounds effective against MRSA and E.Coli organisms.


Notes to Editors

About Aquapharm Biodiscovery Ltd –
Aquapharm is a leading marine biotechnology company pioneering the discovery, isolation and development of novel, marine-derived bioactives for application in a wide range of commercial sectors, including pharmaceuticals, functional ingredients and industrial biotechnology.

Aquapharm has built a substantial and specialised collection of marine bacteria and fungi from a variety of diverse habitats. Through the application of its proprietary technologies to this collection, the company has been able to stimulate the production of novel, biologically active products with broad chemical diversity. To accelerate its discovery efforts, Aquapharm is currently focused on completing one of the world’s largest marine derived compound libraries containing small molecule and peptide compounds. The completion of this new compound library will accelerate Aquapharm’s drug discovery efforts, principally in the anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory fields. Aquapharm has commercial agreements with Croda Plc and Dr Reddy’s Laboratories in regards to sourcing marine compounds for use in the personal care and bio-catalysis fields respectively. In March 2010, Aquapharm received a £4.2 million investment from existing investors and appointed biotech entrepreneur Simon Best as CEO, the company’s founder Dr Andrew Mearns Spragg as CTO and Dr Tim Morley as CSO. Aquapharm is based at the European Centre for Marine Biotechnology in Oban, Scotland.

About AMRI -
Founded in 1991, Albany Molecular Research, Inc. provides scientific services, products and technologies focused on improving the quality of life. AMRI works on drug discovery and development projects and conducts manufacturing of active ingredients and pharmaceutical intermediates for many of the world's leading healthcare companies. As an additional value added service to its customers, the company is also investing in R&D in order to expand its contract services and to identify novel early stage drug candidates with the goal to out-license to a strategic partner. With locations in the United States, Europe, and Asia, AMRI provides customers with a wide range of services, technologies and cost models.

For further information please contact:

Media Enquiries
College Hill Life Sciences
Adam Michael, Justine Lamond and Gemma Howe
Tel: +44 (0)20 7866 7857

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