Norak Biosciences is moving into crops science for the first time.
The company announced Wednesday morning that it has signed a deal with BASF to use its drug discovery technology for use in plant research.
“This is our first such collaboration with a partner in the agricultural industry,” said Roger D. Blevins, Norak’s president and CEO, in a statement. “This type of collaboration demonstrates Transfluor(R)’s value beyond pharmaceutical
Peter Eckes, who runs BASF’s Agricultural Products Research group, added: “This cooperation with an experienced partner will extend and strengthen our innovation resources.”
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed other than Norak will get screening fees, milestones, royalties and access to technology.
BASF wants to use Norak’s Transfluor technology to screen part of its molecular compound library for potential targets developed by BASF.
The companies said BASF is interested in developing compounds that might be used for such things as screening for crop protection products.
Transfluor’s platform technology is based on research it licensed from Duke University.
The focus is so-called GPCRs, or G protein-coupled receptors, “the best validated and most lucrative targets for drug discovery,” according to Norak. Transfluor is a cell-based fluorescence (light or other radiation emitted when a molecule or particle is exposed to radiation or another source such as an X-ray or ultraviolet light — Oxford English Dictionary) bioassay used to screen for GPCR ligands (molecules that bind to another) and other potential drugs that regulate GPCRs.