Avalon Pharmaceuticals Initiates Primary Screening Phase in Novartis Collaboration Avalon Pharmaceuticals initiated the primary screening phase under its drug discovery collaboration with Novartis. The collaboration aims to discover small molecule therapeutic compounds targeted against a pathway selected by Novartis. The terms of the collaboration provide for upfront, research-support, and milestone payments. Avalon is using its AvalonRxÂ® drug discovery platform to screen, identify, and characterize compounds from the Novartis proprietary compound library. Following Avalon's successful identification of a screen signature by monitoring large-scale gene expression changes resulting from disrupting the selected pathway, the parties have agreed to initiate the primary screen against a large subset of Novartis' compound library. Under the terms of the agreement, the initiation of the screening phase triggers a $500,000 payment to Avalon for research support.