Norak Biosciences has signed a non-exclusive license agreement with Roche to utilize its Transfluor technology for G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) drug discovery.

The deal is the latest in a growing list of deals for Norak, which also raised $12 million in venture capital earlier this year.

Norak also has made deals with Merck, AstraZeneca and Q3DM.

Under the terms of the agreement, Norak will provide its Transfluor cell lines expressing GPCR targets of interest to Roche, which will then use these Transfluor cell lines in a primary screen of its large compound library. Drugs bind to GPCRs on cells to change functions inside the cell. Norak will also sublicense a green fluorescent protein (GFP) to Roche for use with Transfluor.

In addition to upfront cash, assay development fees and milestones, RTP-based Norak will be able to access certain Roche data from screening with Transfluor. Norak says it will provide its ongoing support and know how in cell biology for the benefit of Roche, a Swiss healthcare company.

“This important collaboration marks our third major drug discovery alliance this year and our first to exploit the ability of Transfluor to discover drugs that regulate orphan GPCRs,” Roger Blevins, Norak’s president and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “This marks a significant accomplishment for Norak furthering our efforts to validate Transfluor within the high throughput screening market.”

For near-term growth and revenue, Norak says it is offering limited access to its technology to the pharmaceutical industry via licensing and collaborations. Norak believes these deals will provide early market validation of Transfluor as a discovery tool. For long-term growth and value, Norak has acquired compound libraries and instrumentation to discover certain GPCR-based drugs for its own pipeline.

Norak’s Transfluor technology is a patented, universal GPCR drug discovery technology designed to be the most direct and accurate method for screening potential drug candidates against GPCR targets. Transfluor was licensed in 1999 by Norak from technology developed at Duke University Medical School in Durham and represents the combined research into GPCR signaling pathways over several decades by Norak’s scientific founders, Marc Caron, Robert Lefkowitz and Larry Barak.

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