DETROIT — BioSeek LLC, a South San Francisco, Calif.-based subsidiary of Detroit-based Asterand plc, Wednesday announced the achievement of the first research milestone in its multi-year discovery collaboration with Osaka, Japan-based Ono Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd.

In the collaboration, BioSeek is applying its proprietary BioMap platform to perform phenotypic screening, hit identification, lead optimization and clinical candidate selection on a target selected by Ono. The BioMap technology aims to find drug candidates with bad side effects earlier in the discovery process.

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Under the three-year agreement, BioSeek is receiving research funding and is eligible to receive success payments based on the research-phase progress of this collaboration and further milestone payments based on the clinical development-phase progress of a drug candidate discovered under this collaboration. Ono will have worldwide rights to develop and sell all pharmaceutical products discovered through the collaboration.

“We highly value our relationship with Ono since it enables us to take full advantage of BioMap’s power to discover and develop innovative new drug candidates,” said Asterand chairman and interim CEO Jack Davis. “We are looking forward to the successful continuation and further achievements of the collaboration.”

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BioMap Systems are primary cell-based models of human disease biology, designed to replicate the intricate cell and pathway interactions as they are observed in human pharmacology and toxicology. Depending on their mechanism of action, compounds induce specific patterns of changes in these systems (BioMap profiles) that can be compared to a large number of reference profiles in the BioMap database. Assessment with BioMap provides early insight into human pharmacological and toxicological properties of compounds, including on- and off-target effects, dose responses, and the discrimination of closely related compounds.

Asterand, a lead tenant at Detroit’s TechTown, supplies human tissue and tissue-based services and information to researchers in drug discovery and development. The company aims to accelerate drug target discovery and compound validation and enable pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to take safer and more effective drugs into the market.

For more information about Asterand or BioSeek, go to

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