Icoria Inc., has licensed to Syngenta Ltd. the exclusive rights to commercially develop 30 Icoria compounds believed to be active fungal inhibitors. Syngenta will evaluate the compounds over the course of 18 months and Icoria expects that Syngenta will select the most promising compounds for development and eventual commercial use as agricultural fungicides. Syngenta also has the right to commercially develop the compounds in human health care (antimicrobial use), animal health, household products, and industrial applications.

Under the agreement, Icoria receives a modest upfront payment and will receive milestone and royalty payments should Syngenta proceed with development and commercialization of any Icoria compounds. Financial terms were not disclosed.

"We are pleased that Syngenta recognizes the potential value of our fungicide portfolio and may develop new products based on our compounds," said Heinrich Gugger, Ph.D., president and CEO of Icoria. "This agreement is a direct result of the fungicide discovery research activities and assay development work we re-launched in early 2004 and we believe it demonstrates the efficiency of our current target-based development approach."

"Syngenta as a leader in crop protection and crop disease control is committed to innovation, and we are pleased that this agreement with Icoria will boost the quality of our early stage pipeline," said Dr. Mike Bushell, head of strategy and technology at Syngenta.

Icoria has seven patents in its fungicide portfolio, including several that cover methods for the rapid and systematic mutation of pathogenic fungi, enabling the efficient identification of novel anti-fungal and fungicide targets as well as novel biosynthetic and degradation pathways.

"Because fungi and other microbes can adapt and become resistant to existing products, we see a continuing demand for new anti-fungals for crop protection and human health," said Keith Davis, Ph.D., Vice President, Agricultural Biotechnology at Icoria. "In particular, compounds with novel modes of action are a high priority in the industry. Our approach is geared towards identifying chemistries with new modes of action and is well suited for enhancing a partner's product development pipeline."

Source: PR Newswire