AMRI partners up in drug discovery amid a corporate turnaround

AMRI senior vice president Michael Luther

Contract drugmaker AMRI ($AMRI) is shifting some of its focus to early-stage R&D, partnering up with a neighboring biotech to expand its capabilities in drug discovery.

AMRI, which does most of its business in manufacturing, has signed on to market HarkerBIO's discovery services to its biopharma clients around the world. In a three-year deal, AMRI gets access to its partner's technology for identifying and designing new drug candidates, while HarkerBIO taps the larger company's reach and capacity. Neither company is disclosing financial details.

The two will work together at AMRI's new discovery-focused outpost in Buffalo, NY, where HarkerBIO is headquartered. The Buffalo site is a consolidation of AMRI's formerly spread-out early R&D operation, and bringing in HarkerBIO will help the company better compete for discovery-stage deals, AMRI Senior Vice President Michael Luther said.

"Our new center in Buffalo offers customers leading-edge platforms and capabilities to translate early discoveries to the clinic via an integrated approach leveraging our expertise in chemistry, biology and pharmacology all located in a single site in the United States," Luther said in a statement.

AMRI has been gradually paring down its efforts in drug discovery over the past few years, shuttering sites and adapting to a dip in demand by betting more and more on manufacturing.

Last quarter, the Albany-headquartered company boosted its revenue by 38% but swung to a net loss due to the ongoing costs of its protracted transition. AMRI, weaning itself off of royalty revenue and scaling back in discovery, has been steadily buying up manufacturing capacity in a strategy management believes will bring it back into the black.

- read the statement

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