Compugen, Merck Serono set up biomarkers JV

Neviah Genomics will operate at the Merck Serono Israel Bioincubator in Yavne.

Compugen Ltd. (Nasdaq: CGEN; TASE: CGEN) and Germany's Merck KGaA unit Merck Serono have established a joint venture, Neviah Genomics, for the discovery and development of novel biomarkers for the prediction of drug-induced toxicity. Neviah Genomics will operate at the Merck Serono Israel Bioincubator in Yavne.

Merck Serono Ventures will provide the initial funding, and Compugen will provide certain proprietary predictive discovery technologies. Compugen will have a stake in Neviah Genomics and will have the right to royalties from potential future sales.

Neviah Genomics is Merck Serono Israel Bioincubator's first investment. The company will operate out of the state-of-the-art facilities inaugurated last month at Merck Seronos Israeli R&D center, Inter-Lab, which offers 600 square meters of infrastructure and a wide range of incubation services for the program's new start-ups.

Compugen and Merck Serono have already successfully collaborated on the discovery of biomarkers for drug induced toxicity. The companies say that, by combining both their capabilities, Neviah Genomics could satisfy the growing market need for products to predict toxicity profiles of drug candidates at an early stage of development, thereby minimizing attrition and mitigating risk of late-stage drug failure.

Compugen president and CEO Dr. Anat Cohen-Dayag said, Following our prior successful collaboration with Merck Serono, we are very pleased to expand this relationship and enter into this new and exciting partnership. We are honored to be the first Israeli company to benefit from the establishment of Merck Serono's Israel Bioincubator and look forward to taking our partnership to the next level." She added, "The formation of Neviah Genomics on a 'discovery on demand' basis enables Compugen to both continue its focus on therapeutic monoclonal antibodies and therapeutic proteins in the fields of immunology and oncology."

Merck Serono VP Global Business Development and Strategy Susan Herbert said, Neviah Genomics is a perfect illustration of our goals behind the establishment of the Israel Biotech Incubator: to leverage Israeli science and know-how and get access to novel products and technologies for the benefit of Merck Seronos core therapeutic areas."

Compugen's share price rose 2.8% by mid-afternoon to NIS 13.80 on the TASE today, after rising 1.2% on Nasdaq on Friday to $3.53, giving a market cap of $127 million.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on June 25, 2012

Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2012

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