HIGH POINT, N.C. — Privately held TransTech Pharma has landed a drug development deal worth at least $155 million with Pfizer.

Pfizer is also pumping $18 million into TransTech for expansion of its drug research capabilities.

The two companies are teaming up to pursue development of TransTech compounds that could combat Alzheimer’s disease.

TransTech’s TTP488 compound is currently being tested in a Phase II clinical study of Alzheimer’s patients. Its TTP4000 compound is expected to enter clinical trial before the end of 2006.

Pfizer will pay TransTech $155 million in upfront and near-term milestone payments. Other milestone payments will be made as the drugs advance, and TransTech will also receive royalties on future sales if drugs are approved.

TransTech’s compounds target so-called RAGE (receptor for advanced glycation end products) that kills nerve cells in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. The company has developed technology focused on RAGE inhibitors.

“This agreement is an important step in Pfizer’s commitment to neurosciences research and the development of new medicines for patients whose lives are impacted by Alzheimer’s disease and other disorders,” said Martin Mackay, Pfizer’s senior vice president for worldwide research and technology. “As a world leader in Alzheimer’s disease therapy, we understand the need for new treatment options for this debilitating disease which takes an enormous toll on our aging and elderly population.”

TransTech’s Translational Technology drug discovery platform works with the modulation of human proteins to develop medicines. The company is targeting cardiovascular and central nervous system disorders as well as diabetes, obesity and cancer.

“Pfizer’s deep commitment in multiple therapeutic areas coupled with their broad expertise and experience in the development and commercialization of new medicines, especially for the treatment of central nervous system diseases, were significant factors in our decision to go with Pfizer as the partner of choice to advance our current portfolio of RAGE inhibitors in a variety of potential indications,” said Adan Mjalli, TransTech’s chief executive officer and founder.

RAGE is associated with several disorders other than Alzheimer’s, according to TransTech. They include: diabetes and renal insufficiency; tumors; and inflammation.

The deal is the second major one for TransTech in less than a year. In December, TransTech announced a $54 million deal with German firm Boehringer Ingelheim.

TransTech: www.ttpharma.com