Astex achieves drug discovery collaboration success with Schering AG


CAMBRIDGE, U.K., Oct. 25, 2004 (PRIMEZONE) -- Astex Technology, the fragment-based drug discovery and development company, today announced that it has completed a significant goal in its multi-target drug discovery collaboration with Schering AG. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The collaboration was announced in May 2003 and is a four-year, multi-target based alliance for the discovery of novel drugs for various therapeutic indications with a particular focus on orally available small molecule drugs targeting solid tumours.

Under the terms of the agreement, Schering will fund Astex's research programs relating to the collaboration, providing discovery and clinical milestone payments plus royalties based on the sales of each product that reaches market approval. Schering will be responsible for clinical development and has an option to retain worldwide, exclusive marketing rights for all identified compounds.

Tim Haines, Chief Executive of Astex, said, "This latest research and development achievement underscores the benefits to Astex and Schering from our constructive, ongoing collaboration towards the development of novel drug molecules through fragment-based discovery."

About Astex

Astex is a biotechnology company producing novel small molecule therapeutics. Using its pioneering fragment-based drug discovery approach, Astex has rapidly established a broad pipeline of next generation, molecularly targeted oncology drugs, the first of which will enter clinical trials in 2005.

Astex's leading position in fragment-based drug discovery derives from its integrated discovery engine, Pyramid (TM). High-throughput X-ray crystallography is used to identify drug fragments bound to target proteins and to transform the fragments, using efficient medicinal chemistry, into potent, selective lead compounds. Pyramid (TM) has been successfully applied across a wide variety of therapeutic targets, including those regarded as 'intractable' by the pharmaceutical industry, resulting in lead compounds for the potential treatment of cancer, inflammation and Alzheimer's disease.

Astex's unprecedented productivity in lead discovery has been endorsed by drug discovery alliances with major pharmaceutical companies including AstraZeneca, Aventis, Boehringer Ingelheim, Fujisawa Pharmaceutical Company Ltd., Mitsubishi Pharma and Schering AG. Astex was established in 1999 and is well financed by leading, blue chip US and European investors (Abingworth, Advent International, Alta Partners, Apax, GIMV, HypoVereinsbank, Oxford Bioscience Partners, Schering AG and the University of Cambridge).

For further information on Astex please visit the Company's website at


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