Serenex says it has signed a collaborative agreement with Chiron Corporation (Nasdaq: CHIR) of Emeryville, CA, for use of its Proteome Mining technology to discover new drug targets and potential so-called off-targets.

The deal with Chiron is the third such collaboration for Durham-based Serenex since the company was founded in June 2001, says George Young, senior vice president of operations, sales and marketing for Serenex. The other deals were with Pfizer and Pharmacia. Young said negotiations with Chiron began before August, when Serenex received $15 million in Series B financing from a group led by Intersouth Partners of Durham. He added that more deals could be announced shortly.

“The Chiron deal had been in negotiation for a short while, and was in the process pre-second round,” Young tells Local Tech Wire. “But we will use a portion (of the financing) for other collaborations. Within a few weeks, we hope to have some more announcements.”

Serenex says its latest collaboration will take advantage of Chiron’s preclinical and clinical development product pipeline and its drug discovery expertise. Another plus is Serenex’s ability to screen Chiron drugs rapidly and efficiently using Functional Proteome Fractionation (FPF) in an automated and parallel systems technology, the company adds.

Under the terms of the collaboration, Chiron will supply Serenex with small molecule, drug-like compounds. Serenex says it will use its proprietary Proteome Mining and FPF technologies to screen Chiron’s compounds against thousands of potential protein targets simultaneously.

“Chiron’s leadership in areas such as cancer and infectious diseases and its focus on a developing small molecule portfolio is widely recognized, and we are glad to be associated with this effort,” Robert Dishman, chief executive officer of Serenex, said in a statement.

In addition to upfront payments for research funding, Serenex says it will receive milestone payments and royalties based on the successful development of drug candidates identified in the research program.