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Coley Pharmaceutical buys 3M's therapeutic R&D programmes

Coley Pharmaceutical has entered into an agreement with 3M to acquire the majority of its therapeutic Toll-like receptor cancer programmes

US-based Coley Pharmaceutical has entered into an agreement with 3M to acquire the majority of its therapeutic Toll-like receptor (TLR) cancer programmes.

The acquisition brings along with it a pipeline of clinical and preclinical small molecule candidates targeting TLR7 and TLR8, as well an extensive intellectual property estate of more than 200 issued and several hundred pending patents and an extensive library of approximately 10,000 small molecule compounds that stimulate these receptors.

Coley says it will start phase I/II clinical trials in a cancer indication in 2008 with one of the newly-acquired TLR small molecules.

Per the agreement, 3M will receive guaranteed cash payments of USD 20m over a three-year period, including an immediate payment of USD 5m. 3M could also receive milestone payments, as well as royalties from the sale of any products developed and commercialised through the acquisition.

The acquisition is synergistic with Coley's patent portfolio in TLR9-targeted drugs by adding robust intellectual property and broad freedom to operate rights in the area of TLR7- and TLR8-targeted agents.

3M has already sold a large proportion of its pharmaceuticals business, including actinic keratosis treatment, Aldara (imiquimod), but retained most of its TLR development platform. Coley is buying the remaining rights with the exception of certain fields and several small molecules.

Coley says it will record a USD 20m charge for acquired in process R&D in its financial statements for FY07. As a result, the company has amended its FY07 net loss guidance to incorporate this charge to existing R&D costs and now expects its full-year net loss to be in the region of USD 45m to USD 49m, with the R&D spend predicted to be approximately USD 59m.

14th June 2007

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