UPDATE 1-Sanofi, Ascenta agree up to $398 mln cancer R&D deal

* Compounds target role of p53 gene in cancer

* Ascenta eligible for up to $398 mln in milestone fees

(Adds details on deal and drugs)

PARIS/LONDON, June 4 (BestGrowthStock) – Sanofi-Aventis (SASY.PA: )
boosted its early-stage pipeline on Friday with a deal worth up
to $398 million for rights to experimental cancer compounds
developed by U.S. biotech firm Ascenta Therapeutics.

The most advanced compounds covered by the agreement, MI-773
and MI-519-64, are expected to enter preclinical development in
2010.

Ascenta is working on potential medicines that would be
given by mouth to reactivate the tumour-suppressing function of
the p53 gene. Ascenta itself in-licensed the compounds from the
University of Michigan.

The U.S. company will get an upfront payment and be eligible
for milestone payments that could reach $398 million. It will
also get tiered royalties on any eventual sales.

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(Writing by Ben Hirschler; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

UPDATE 1-Sanofi, Ascenta agree up to $398 mln cancer R&D deal