Akzo Nobel’s pharmaceutical arm Organon has announced a research collaboration with The Netherland’s Academic Medical Center (AMC) to find a novel therapy for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

Under the terms of the agreement, financial details for which were not disclosed, Organon receives an exclusive license to use the recent findings from researchers at the AMC which demonstrated that treatment of CD97, a receptor protein found on the surface of many kinds of inflammatory cells, with monoclonal antibodies results in a significant improvement in the course of rheumatoid arthritis in experimental disease models.

David Nicholson, executive vice president of R&D at Organon, said that the research “fits well with our objectives in biotechnology and immunology. The agreement with the AMC emphasis our dedication to the development of innovative medicines.”

Organon has also announced a deal with Huya Bioscience International, a firm which focuses on developing Chinese biopharmaceutical products.

As part of the collaboration, for which financial details were again not disclosed, Organon has acquired an equity interest in Huya which in return will support the Dutch firm in the sourcing and development of compounds in three specific, but undisclosed, therapeutic areas.

Mr Nicholson added that the pact “is consistent with our research strategy to forge closer links with China's highly skilled and motivated scientists and significantly expands our own ongoing biotech research programs and capabilities." Huya has headquarters in San Diego and Shanghai.