Thursday, April 13, 2006

Array BioPharma Selects Third Compound

Array BioPharma Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRY) and AstraZeneca AB selected a third compound for their small molecule MEK anti-cancer program, triggering a $1 million milestone payment from AstraZeneca to Array. The second compound was selected in January 2006, which also paid a $1 million milestone to Array. In December 2003, Array partnered the oncology portion of its MEK program, including its lead compound, ARRY-142886 (AZD6244), for co-development and commercialization with AstraZeneca. At that time, Array and AstraZeneca established a collaboration for research and development of additional clinical candidates.

MEK is a critical enzyme at the intersection of several biological pathways, which regulates cell proliferation and survival as part of the Ras/Raf/MEK/ERK pathway. Constitutive activation of the Ras/Raf/MEK/ERK pathway has been implicated in many cancers, including lung, pancreatic, colon, melanoma and thyroid caused by cancer-associated, mutational activation of bRAF and Ras proteins. MEK inhibition is an attractive anti-cancer strategy as it has the potential to block inappropriate signal transduction regardless of the upstream position of the oncogenic aberration.

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