GPC Biotech Achieves Milestone in Osteoarthritis Alliance with Aventis


GPC Biotech AG announced the achievement of a milestone in its osteoarthritis alliance with Aventis. Aventis has selected a validated target, which will be moved into high-throughput screening by Aventis to identify compounds for the treatment of osteoarthritis. GPC Biotech identified this target, as well as a number of other potential targets, using its proprietary technologies. The milestone triggers an undisclosed payment to GPC Biotech.

"We are pleased to have achieved another milestone under our osteoarthritis alliance with Aventis," said Sebastian Meier-Ewert, Ph.D., Senior Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer. "In addition to utilizing our proprietary technologies to service our pharmaceutical partners, we are also effectively applying these technologies to grow and broaden our internal anticancer pipeline. In 2003 alone, we initiated several new drug discovery programs in oncology."

The alliance with Aventis was announced in 1999, and the active research aspect involving GPC Biotech has recently concluded. The goal of the collaboration was to identify and validate novel drug targets and their biochemical pathways in the field of osteoarthritis. The research alliance between Aventis and GPC Biotech is part of the project, "Diagnosis and Therapy of Osteoarthritis using Methods of Molecular Medicine," with academic, clinical and industrial partners supported in context of the 'Leitprojekt' initiative by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Science (BMBF).

GPC Biotech is eligible for pre-clinical and clinical milestones, as well as royalties on product sales, resulting from validated targets selected by Aventis from the collaboration. Certain rights to use targets discovered within the research alliance for diagnostic purposes remain with GPC Biotech.

Osteoarthritis, or degenerative joint disease, is one of the most common types of arthritis. The disease is estimated to afflict more than 200 million people worldwide. Osteoarthritis is characterized by the breakdown of the joint's cartilage. With the breakdown of cartilage, bones rub against each other, causing pain and loss of movement. Most commonly affecting middle-aged and older people, osteoarthritis ranges from very mild to very severe. It affects hands and weight-bearing joints such as knees, hips, feet and the back.

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