Ann Arbor Biotech Firm In New Wrinkle On Pain Drugs

Ann Arbor-based Essen BioScience Inc., a provider of contract research services, Monday announced a collaboration with Zurich, Switzerland-based Nycomed to identify novel small molecule ion channel modulators as pain therapeutics.

Under the terms of the agreement, the two companies will collaborate to screen, optimize and develop modulators of voltage-gated ion channels. Essen BioScience will provide core expertise in ion channel drug discovery, planar array electrophysiology and in vitro profiling. Nycomed will contribute capabilities in medicinal chemistry, drug discovery and development.

Said Essen BioScience president Kirk Schroeder: “The milestone driven aspect of this collaboration recognizes our team’s experience in ion channel drug discovery as well as ion channel technology. To bring this experience in partnership with Nycomed’s broader discovery and development capability is exciting.”

Added Nycomed global discovery manager Sham Nikam: “This collaboration with Essen BioScience is a real win-win situation. It significantly strengthens Nycomed’s development pipeline and further underlines our strategy to build on partnerships to develop new innovative products.”

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Essen BioScience is a product and service provider in the life science research field with a long history of innovation. Products invented by Essen personnel include the first high throughput cell-based assay platform, FLIPR; the first high throughput planar electrophysiology platform on the market, IonWorks; and the first live-cell imaging system to fit inside a standard cell culture incubator, IncuCyte. For more information, visit http://www.essenbioscience.com.

Nycomed is a privately owned global pharmaceutical company with a differentiated portfolio focused on branded medicines in gastroenterology, respiratory and inflammatory diseases, pain, osteoporosis and tissue management. Nycomed employs 12,000 associates worldwide, and its products are available in more than 100 countries.

Headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, the company generated total sales of €3.2 billion in 2009 and an adjusted EBITDA of €1.1 billion.

For more information visit www.nycomed.com or www.essenbio.com.

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