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12:00 AM
 | 
Jun 09, 2008
 |  BioCentury  |  Strategy

Adding shots on goal

A long-standing critique of German biotech companies is that they are too small and rely too much on a single lead program. Two companies last week took steps to change that equation. 4SC AG for the first time has in-licensed programs from another company, while Sygnis Pharma AG has decided it needs to have its own discovery engine to ensure a constant source of clinical candidates.

4SC acquired eight oncology programs from Nycomed Group A/S for E14 million ($21.7 million) in cash, while Sygnis was expected to announce this week that it is acquiring Amnestix Inc., a privately held U.S. neurogenomics company focusing on diseases associated with memory loss, for E4 million ($6.2 million) in cash and stock.

For 4SC, its decision to in-license compounds from an external source for the first time represents an inexpensive route to expanding its pipeline.

"Until now, all our compounds had emerged from our cheminformatics-based technology platform," CEO Ulrich Dauer told BioCentury. "These are the first projects from an external source, and our plan, like for our home-grown compounds, is to take them to clinical proof-of-concept and then license them to pharma partners for late-stage clinical development and commercialization."

Before last week's announcement, 4SC's interest in oncology was restricted to two compounds, SC68896 and SC71710, which were in preclinical development and were being targeted at glioblastoma and acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), respectively. Both are slated to enter clinical trials this year.

4SC's lead program is SC12267, a small molecule inhibitor of dihydroorotate dehydrogenase in Phase II testing in rheumatoid arthritis...

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