Norak Biosciences will work with international pharmaceutical company H. Lundbeck A/S in search of potential drug candidates, Norak announced Tuesday.

Under the deal, Lundbeck will pay Norak licensing, assay development and screening fees plus milestones and royalties. In turn, Norak will use its patented drug discovery technology, called Transfluor, to develop and then screen certain cell lines of interest to Lundbeck for potential drug development. Lundbeck also can choose to license Transfluor for its own internal screening once the current agreement ends, according to Norak.

“This is our first such collaboration that takes full advantage of the integrated GPCR primary discovery system we have developed within Norak,” said Dr. Roger Blevins, president and chief executive officer of Norak. “This type of collaboration is a bridge between our revenue generation and drug discovery strategies.”

Norak raised $13 million in venture capital in early 2002. Part of the funding was used to purchase libraries containing 300,000 chemical compounds that Norak can screen for potential drug candidates. The company uses a proprietary screening technology developed at Duke University Medical Center to discover drugs that regulate G protein-coupled receptors.

The so-called GPCRs regulate cell physiology and account for one percent of the human genome. But they are targeted by about half of all drugs currently on the market, including those that battle cardiovascular disease, inflammation and pain, representing about $50 billion in annual sales, the company has said.

In order to generate near-term growth and revenue, Norak said it would offer access to its technology to drug discovery firms through licensing and collaborations.

Norak: www.norakbio.com