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Backed by Compaq, Bruker, and Novartis, GeneProt Opens Industrial-Scale Proteomics Facility

NEW YORK, April 26 - GeneProt said Thursday it has opened its large-scale proteomic discovery center in Geneva, Switzerland. 

"Today we basically established GeneProt's leadership in the role of proteomics," said Cedric Loiret-Bernal, GeneProt CEO, in a webcast discussion of the new center. Loiret-Bernal said the center is the first large-scale proteomics facility in the world. 

The new center will run 20 hours a day and will use 1,420 Compaq Alpha-based Tru64 UNIX computer processors along with Compaq software and StorageWorks systems to capture, store, and analyze the terabytes of data generated by 51 Bruker Daltonics mass spectrometers. 

Both Bruker and Compaq have taken equity investments in GeneProt. Loiret-Bernal said in October that Compaq would invest $10 million in GeneProt in exchange for 2.2 percent of GeneProt's equity.

The amount of Bruker's investment was not disclosed

GeneProt will use the facility to study the development of organisms, maturation of cell types and tissues, and progression of diseases as they vary over time. The company hopes to use the resulting protein profile of healthy and diseased fluids or tissues to speed development of new products by pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. 

"What makes GeneProt unique among the companies seeking to commercialize proteins is the industrial-sized scale in which we work; our leading team of proteomics research scientists; our initial focus on small, naturally occurring proteins that are most likely to be commercially viable candidates for novel therapeutics; and our use of chemical synthesis techniques instead of recombinant technology," said Loiret-Bernal. 

"Some companies just entering the proteomics industry say they'll be able to provide candidates for clinical testing within a few years. We believe we will deliver potential therapeutic agents within six months," said Denis Hochstrasser, co-founder of the company. 

GeneProt has already entered into a five-year proteomics analysis partnership with Novartis. In October, the Basel, Swizerland-based pharmaceutical company said it would make a $43 million equity investment in GeneProt, and would pay GeneProt an additional $41 million in fees over the next four years to analyze healthy and diseased human tissues.

Loiret-Bernal said he expects GeneProt to sign a number of other partnerships with pharmaceutical and technology companies in the future.

GeneProt is planning to open a second proteomics facility in Princeton, NJ, later in the year. 

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