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Local Tech Wire

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – , a venture capital backed startup with proprietary drug development technology, will work with drug giant Bristol-Myers Squibb in a drug development deal potentially worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Tranzyme, which also is developing its own potential products, is focused on so-called small-molecule therapeutics.

Under terms of the new deal, Tranzyme receives a $10 million upfront payment from Bristol-Myers Squibb plus research funding of between $3 million and $6 million.

If compounds are successfully developed and drugs win approval, Tranzyme would receive $80 million for each one plus royalties.

Bristol-Myers Squibb will pick “targets of interest” for potential treatments and will be responsible for pre-clinical, clinical and commercialization of any drugs.

Tranzyme will utilize its Macrocyclic Template Chemistry, or MATCH, technology.

The companies hope to capitalize on macrocyle compounds that offer benefits of small molecule drugs, including the ability to be taken orally and low costs of materials, as well as high potency and selectivity as found in larger molecules, according to Tranzyme.

“We are excited to be joining forces with Bristol-Myers Squibb; we believe they will be an ideal partner to exploit the versatility of our proprietary chemistry,” said Tranzyme Chief Executive Officer Vipin Garg in a statement.

“In addition to Tranzyme’s current focus on gastrointestinal and metabolic disease targets, MATCH has broad applicability in the treatment of other diseases that involve hormones, peptides, ion channels or protein-protein interaction pathways.”

Tranzyme has two drug candidates undergoing clinical trials and recently won three more U.S. patents for its technology. Tranzyme is targeting internal disorders, such as gastroparesis (weak stomach) and post-operative ileus (POI), or blockage of the intestine with its own drug candidates/

The venture-backed firm said the three patents cover its “chemical structural class” development programs involving ghrelin agonists as well as its drug-discovery technology. Its lead product is known as TZP-101.

Tranzyme investors include H.I.G. Ventures, Quaker BioVentures and Thomas, McNerney & Partners and others.