MediChem Life Sciences Enters into Structural Proteomics Agreement With Celgene's Signal Research Division

Scientists Use New Technologies to Develop Novel Central Nervous System

Drugs



Apr 11, 2001, 01:00 ET from MediChem Life Sciences

    CHICAGO, April 11 /PRNewswire/ -- MediChem Life Sciences (Nasdaq:   MCLS), a
 Chicago-based drug discovery technology and services company, signed an
 agreement with the Signal Research Division of Celgene Corporation for the
 structure determination of a Celgene proprietary drug lead bound to a kinase
 drug target that regulates certain disease-causing genes, the company
 announced today.  The drug target has been shown to play an important role in
 central nervous system (CNS) diseases and disorders.
     MediChem scientists, at the company's Emerald BioStructures subsidiary,
 will obtain the kinase protein from Celgene and test conditions for binding
 Celgene's small molecule drug lead to the target protein.  They will then
 co-crystallize the protein with the small molecule compound bound to it.
     "This collaboration is a perfect example of the power of structural
 proteomics and the exciting things that we can now take on at MediChem," said
 Michael T. Flavin, Ph.D., president and CEO of MediChem.  "Our cutting edge
 technologies and services in structural proteomics allow us to help our
 clients develop important drugs that fight devastating diseases -- affecting
 millions of people worldwide."
     When the co-crystallization is completed, MediChem will utilize Argonne
 National Laboratory's Advanced Photon Source (APS) to collect the data
 necessary to solve the protein's structure at near-atomic resolution.  This
 will provide Celgene researchers with a detailed three-dimensional picture of
 the small molecule compound bound to the target protein.  This structural
 information will then be used to further optimize the pharmaceutical
 properties of Celgene's CNS drug leads.
     MediChem has a proprietary user agreement with Argonne National
 Laboratory's APS.  The agreement gives MediChem scientists access to Argonne's
 powerful X-ray beam to collect proprietary X-ray diffraction data for its
 clients' projects.  MediChem scientists translate the X-ray diffraction
 patterns into a high resolution rendering of the three-dimensional structure
 of its clients' target proteins.
     Access to the APS reduces the time needed to determine a protein's
 three-dimensional structure and therefore can accelerate the drug candidate
 identification process.  Determining the structure of a protein, once
 crystallized, used to take months or years; it may now take only a fraction of
 this time using MediChem's resources.  Solving a protein's structure improves
 scientists' ability to optimize small molecule drugs that are directed toward
 the specific target, with the goal of developing safer and more effective
 drugs to treat disease.
     MediChem may receive a bonus payment under terms of the agreement with
 Celgene, based on early completion of specified project goals.
     "Having a three-dimensional picture of a drug lead interacting with a
 target protein at the molecular level makes it much easier to develop enhanced
 versions of the drug," said Flavin.  "Using MediChem's structural proteomics
 technology platform will help Celgene more thoroughly understand the complex
 characteristics of their protein target, and their drug leads."
     "Celgene has been successful in identifying small molecule inhibitors of a
 clinically important and proprietary kinase drug target that regulates key
 disease-causing genes in the brain.  MediChem's structural proteomics
 expertise will significantly enhance our ability to optimize these drug leads
 and develop new classes of drugs targeting some of the most challenging CNS
 diseases and disorders," commented Alan Lewis, Ph.D., president of Celgene's
 Signal Research Division.
 
     Kinase Drug Targets
     Kinases are gene regulating proteins that transmit biological signals from
 a cell's outer membrane to its nucleus where genes are switched on and off to
 regulate key cellular functions.  Celgene's Signal Research Division is
 mapping cellular kinase pathways to identify drug targets and drug candidates
 that selectively regulate disease-causing genes.
     The kinase drug target that is the subject of the agreement between
 MediChem and Celgene plays a pivotal role in regulating genes that are central
 to diseases and injuries of the CNS, including neurodegenerative diseases,
 stroke and head trauma.
 
     MediChem Life Sciences ( http://www.medichem.com ) is a drug discovery
 technology and services company that offers a broad range of integrated
 chemistry R&D capabilities to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.  A
 leader in medicinal chemistry research since its inception in 1987, MediChem
 has extended its technologies and services through proteomics, biocatalysis,
 combinatorial chemistry and chemical process development.  The company's
 technologies and services are designed to enable its clients to reduce overall
 development time and costs, and to advance a greater number of discovery and
 development opportunities through to the marketplace.  Based in Chicago,
 MediChem has additional offices and laboratories in South San Francisco, CA;
 La Jolla, CA; Seattle, WA; Annapolis, MD; New London, CT; Cambridge, MA and
 Manchester, UK.
 
     Celgene Corporation, headquartered in Warren, New Jersey, is an
 independent biopharmaceutical company engaged in the discovery, development
 and commercialization of small molecule drugs for cancer and immunological
 diseases.  Please feel free to visit the Company's website at
 ( http://www.celgene.com ).
 
     Except for any historical information presented herein, this release
 contains forward-looking statements regarding MediChem's future activities
 within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and
 involve a high degree of risk and uncertainty.  These forward-looking
 statements involve material risks and uncertainties.  Many possible factors
 could affect future results and performance of MediChem's services and
 technologies, such that actual results and performance may differ materially.
 If MediChem's services and technologies fail to perform as expected or if
 there is lower demand for these than expected, MediChem's financial condition
 and operating results may be materially and adversely affected.  MediChem's
 financial condition and operating results may also be materially and adversely
 affected by a number of other factors, including, but not limited to, adverse
 changes in competitive and economic conditions, or difficulties and adverse
 actions by third parties and licensors, as well as other risks identified in
 MediChem's registration statement on Form S-1 filed with the Securities and
 Exchange Commission.
 
 

SOURCE MediChem Life Sciences
    CHICAGO, April 11 /PRNewswire/ -- MediChem Life Sciences (Nasdaq:   MCLS), a
 Chicago-based drug discovery technology and services company, signed an
 agreement with the Signal Research Division of Celgene Corporation for the
 structure determination of a Celgene proprietary drug lead bound to a kinase
 drug target that regulates certain disease-causing genes, the company
 announced today.  The drug target has been shown to play an important role in
 central nervous system (CNS) diseases and disorders.
     MediChem scientists, at the company's Emerald BioStructures subsidiary,
 will obtain the kinase protein from Celgene and test conditions for binding
 Celgene's small molecule drug lead to the target protein.  They will then
 co-crystallize the protein with the small molecule compound bound to it.
     "This collaboration is a perfect example of the power of structural
 proteomics and the exciting things that we can now take on at MediChem," said
 Michael T. Flavin, Ph.D., president and CEO of MediChem.  "Our cutting edge
 technologies and services in structural proteomics allow us to help our
 clients develop important drugs that fight devastating diseases -- affecting
 millions of people worldwide."
     When the co-crystallization is completed, MediChem will utilize Argonne
 National Laboratory's Advanced Photon Source (APS) to collect the data
 necessary to solve the protein's structure at near-atomic resolution.  This
 will provide Celgene researchers with a detailed three-dimensional picture of
 the small molecule compound bound to the target protein.  This structural
 information will then be used to further optimize the pharmaceutical
 properties of Celgene's CNS drug leads.
     MediChem has a proprietary user agreement with Argonne National
 Laboratory's APS.  The agreement gives MediChem scientists access to Argonne's
 powerful X-ray beam to collect proprietary X-ray diffraction data for its
 clients' projects.  MediChem scientists translate the X-ray diffraction
 patterns into a high resolution rendering of the three-dimensional structure
 of its clients' target proteins.
     Access to the APS reduces the time needed to determine a protein's
 three-dimensional structure and therefore can accelerate the drug candidate
 identification process.  Determining the structure of a protein, once
 crystallized, used to take months or years; it may now take only a fraction of
 this time using MediChem's resources.  Solving a protein's structure improves
 scientists' ability to optimize small molecule drugs that are directed toward
 the specific target, with the goal of developing safer and more effective
 drugs to treat disease.
     MediChem may receive a bonus payment under terms of the agreement with
 Celgene, based on early completion of specified project goals.
     "Having a three-dimensional picture of a drug lead interacting with a
 target protein at the molecular level makes it much easier to develop enhanced
 versions of the drug," said Flavin.  "Using MediChem's structural proteomics
 technology platform will help Celgene more thoroughly understand the complex
 characteristics of their protein target, and their drug leads."
     "Celgene has been successful in identifying small molecule inhibitors of a
 clinically important and proprietary kinase drug target that regulates key
 disease-causing genes in the brain.  MediChem's structural proteomics
 expertise will significantly enhance our ability to optimize these drug leads
 and develop new classes of drugs targeting some of the most challenging CNS
 diseases and disorders," commented Alan Lewis, Ph.D., president of Celgene's
 Signal Research Division.
 
     Kinase Drug Targets
     Kinases are gene regulating proteins that transmit biological signals from
 a cell's outer membrane to its nucleus where genes are switched on and off to
 regulate key cellular functions.  Celgene's Signal Research Division is
 mapping cellular kinase pathways to identify drug targets and drug candidates
 that selectively regulate disease-causing genes.
     The kinase drug target that is the subject of the agreement between
 MediChem and Celgene plays a pivotal role in regulating genes that are central
 to diseases and injuries of the CNS, including neurodegenerative diseases,
 stroke and head trauma.
 
     MediChem Life Sciences ( http://www.medichem.com ) is a drug discovery
 technology and services company that offers a broad range of integrated
 chemistry R&D capabilities to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.  A
 leader in medicinal chemistry research since its inception in 1987, MediChem
 has extended its technologies and services through proteomics, biocatalysis,
 combinatorial chemistry and chemical process development.  The company's
 technologies and services are designed to enable its clients to reduce overall
 development time and costs, and to advance a greater number of discovery and
 development opportunities through to the marketplace.  Based in Chicago,
 MediChem has additional offices and laboratories in South San Francisco, CA;
 La Jolla, CA; Seattle, WA; Annapolis, MD; New London, CT; Cambridge, MA and
 Manchester, UK.
 
     Celgene Corporation, headquartered in Warren, New Jersey, is an
 independent biopharmaceutical company engaged in the discovery, development
 and commercialization of small molecule drugs for cancer and immunological
 diseases.  Please feel free to visit the Company's website at
 ( http://www.celgene.com ).
 
     Except for any historical information presented herein, this release
 contains forward-looking statements regarding MediChem's future activities
 within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and
 involve a high degree of risk and uncertainty.  These forward-looking
 statements involve material risks and uncertainties.  Many possible factors
 could affect future results and performance of MediChem's services and
 technologies, such that actual results and performance may differ materially.
 If MediChem's services and technologies fail to perform as expected or if
 there is lower demand for these than expected, MediChem's financial condition
 and operating results may be materially and adversely affected.  MediChem's
 financial condition and operating results may also be materially and adversely
 affected by a number of other factors, including, but not limited to, adverse
 changes in competitive and economic conditions, or difficulties and adverse
 actions by third parties and licensors, as well as other risks identified in
 MediChem's registration statement on Form S-1 filed with the Securities and
 Exchange Commission.
 
 SOURCE  MediChem Life Sciences