VASTox plc has announced that it has entered into a series of pilot screening agreements with major pharmaceutical companies, including Merck KGaA, Johnson & Johnson (Pharmaceutical Research & Development, Belgium) and Servier.
Together, the deals are worth in excess of €300,000 in service revenues to VASTox during 2007.
VASTox will use its zebrafish technology platform to blind-screen selections of known compounds for safety and toxicity to validate to its clients how this technology can predict unwanted side effects. It is the Company’s aim to develop these relationships into higher-value, longer-term partnerships.
A strategy of internal growth and focused acquisitions over the past 18 months has seen VASTox assemble the most advanced and extensive zebrafish technology platform in the world. This versatile organism is proving highly valuable in drug discovery because it can be used to predict the safety of potential drug candidates as well as to develop a wide range of models of human diseases including neuro-disorders and regenerative medicine, therapeutic areas in which VASTox has drug discovery programmes.
VASTox also announced that it has completed on-time and on-budget, the construction of its GMP facility located at its subsidiary company, Dextra Laboratories, which specialises in carbohydrate chemistry.
The GMP facility will allow VASTox to produce material in sufficient quantities for use in human clinical trials up to the Phase II stage of clinical development.
In order to ensure the facility is fully GMP compliant, VASTox will perform a test run to produce material for one of its own drug discovery programmes with the facility receiving its first fee-paying client by the end of July 2007.
Steven Lee, PhD, CEO of VASTox commented: “The zebrafish is emerging as a valuable and powerful tool within drug discovery and VASTox is the world’s leader in the use of this organism. The signing of these pilot deals means VASTox has now worked with seven of the ten largest pharmaceutical companies, which provides continued recognition of our technology and an opportunity to further validate this exciting technology platform.”
He added: “The completion of the GMP laboratory is a key milestone for our pharmaceutical service offering. Carbohydrate chemistry is becoming increasingly important in the search for and development of effective new drugs and our Dextrasubsidiary is already established as a leading force in this field. With GMP accreditation, VASTox can now offer its partners and customers the highest quality carbohydrate chemistry services from discovery through to clinical development.”