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Metabolex and Astellas Reach Goal in Discovering Drug Screening Targets for Diabetes and Obesity

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Metabolex, Inc. has announced that Astellas Pharma Inc. has initiated a high throughput screen on a previously selected target and has chosen an additional validated target for drug screening and development through its research and development collaboration with Metabolex.

The advancement of these targets by Astellas Pharma Inc. has triggered undisclosed milestone payments to Metabolex.

Metabolex and Astellas Pharma Inc. initiated the research and drug discovery collaboration in March 2002 and extended the agreement in March 2005 for one year.

The collaboration focused on discovering and validating drug screening targets identified through Metabolex's proprietary database of human genes associated with insulin resistance and obesity.

The goal was to identify candidate compounds from the validated drug targets and advance them into development for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, impaired glucose tolerance and obesity.

"Our collaboration with Metabolex advanced rapidly and resulted in the achievement of our goal of successfully identifying more than 10 novel targets and advancing several validated targets into drug screening and development," said Isao Yanagisawa, Ph.D., Senior Corporate Officer of Astellas Pharma Inc.

"Because these targets are expressed in human diabetes clinical samples, and thus more likely to play a causative role in diabetes, they have the potential to lead to promising drug candidates for obesity and diabetes - serious and highly prevalent diseases for which new therapies are urgently needed."

"We are committed to continuing to evaluate these candidate targets with the goal of developing new products to meet an unmet medical need."

"The achievement of our program goal of identifying and advancing 10 novel drug targets for the treatment of diabetes and obesity is a testament to our expertise in understanding the underlying biology and genetic basis of diabetes and obesity," said Harold E. Van Wart, Ph.D., President and CEO of Metabolex.

"We are hopeful that the results of this collaboration will result in optimal therapies for these diseases."