US pharmaceutical major, Schering-Plough, has agreed to buy NeoGenesis Pharmaceuticals, a company focusing on drug discovery technologies, for an undisclosed sum.

The move is an investment in the company’s product pipeline at a time when Schering-Plough has been struggling with a maturing product portfolio, pressure on sales and earnings, and a somewhat lacklustre product pipeline [[22/10/04d]] [[21/07/04c]], albeit made more alluring by the promise of its cholesterol drug, Zetia (ezetimibe), and combination product, Vytorin (ezetimibe and simvastatin), which is partnered with also-troubled Merck & Co [[10/11/04c]].

“The planned acquisition… will help strengthen the discovery capabilities of Schering-Plough,” said Fred Hassan, the company’s chairman and chief executive. NeoGenesis focuses on applying novel screening and chemistry technologies to discover and develop small molecule drugs, and has been collaborating with Schering-Plough on various projects – including an antiviral discovery project [[07/08/01g]] – since 1999.