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Asterand's Subsidiary BioSeek Extends Collaboration with Merck Serono

New Three-Year Deal Provides Merck Serono Expanded Access to BioSeek LLC's BioMAP® Platform

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Mar 28, 2012 - BioSeek, LLC, a subsidiary of Asterand plc (LSE: ATD), a pioneer in the application of predictive human biology to drug discovery, announced today that it has signed a new, three-year collaboration agreement with Merck Serono, a division of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. The new agreement extends and expands the companies' previous three-year agreement from 2009. Under the new research plan, BioSeek will expand the use of its proprietary BioMAP platform to evaluate Merck Serono small molecule compounds and proteins across multiple therapeutic areas in support of target differentiation, lead selection and optimization and nomination of candidates for preclinical development at Merck Serono.

Jack Davis, Chairman and Interim Chief Executive Officer of Asterand commented:

“We highly value our long-standing relationship with Merck Serono. The studies carried out by BioSeek for Merck Serono over the past three years have demonstrated that BioMAP Platform can be used to reliably advance promising molecules through preclinical evaluation. Our scientists have worked closely and productively with the Merck Serono team, and we look forward to our continuing and expanding research with them.”

BioMAP® Systems are primary cell-based models of human disease biology, designed to replicate the intricate cell and pathway interactions as they are observed in human pharmacology and toxicology. Depending on their mechanism of action, compounds induce specific patterns of changes in these systems (BioMAP® profiles) that can be compared to a large number of reference profiles in the BioMAP® Database. Assessment with BioMAP® provides early insight into human pharmacological and toxicological properties of compounds, including on-and off-target effects, dose responses, and the discrimination of closely related compounds.

About BioSeek

BioSeek, LLC, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Asterand plc (LSE: ATD), a leading supplier of high quality human tissue and tissue-based services. BioSeek improves the success rate of pharmaceutical research and development by integrating human biology from the earliest stages of drug discovery onward through its unique BioMAP® predictive human-based models. Our mission is to accelerate target discovery and drug compound validation and enable our clients to take safer and more effective drugs into the market.

For more information about Asterand and BioSeek, please visit


Contact: BioSeek LLC (Asterand plc)
Ivan Plavec, VP Business Development
Tel: +1 (650) 416 7629
Daniel Stewart & Company plc
Antony Legge
David Hart
Paul Shackleton
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7776 6550



Posted: March 2012