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Aurora's product play

Although Aurora Biosciences Corp. has by no means abandoned its toolkit services business, the company last week took steps toward becoming an integrated drug discovery company with a deal to identify, optimize and develop two to three candidate compounds to treat cystic fibrosis (CF) for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

"This deal is a good example of Aurora taking its technology downstream," said ABSC Chairman, President and CEO Stuart Collinson. "We haven't traditionally performed compound identification."

Because CF is an ion channel disease, ABSC will be able to apply its Voltage Sensor Probe (VSP) assay development technology and Voltage Ion Probe Reader (VIPR) screening technology. Also, with about 30,000 patients affected by CF, Collinson said the disease is "relatively overlooked" by pharma companies.

Collinson believes that ABSC's platform will shave at least two years off

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