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British Bioinformatics Co. Pens Peptide Deal with Dartmouth

NEW YORK, Sept. 18 – British bioinformatics company Proteom announced Tuesday a collaboration with Dartmouth Medical School to identify and develop peptides that can interrupt the process of apoptosis.

Under the terms of the deal, Proteom will contribute its expertise in designing peptides, while Dartmouth will provide its knowledge about the protein pathways involved in cell death.

“The first test is to validate the peptides we’ve designed and synthesized and to see if they interrupt the process we are looking at,” said Barry Cartwright, Proteom’s business development director. “Within six months we’ll know if we have something interesting and exciting to work on.”

Proteom uses informatics to design peptide inhibitors that are usually about seven amino acids in length to bind with particular regions of a protein.

Proteom and Dartmouth are seeking to identify peptides that can interrupt the apoptosis process in the hope of eventually developing new drugs for the treatment of cancer.

In the first phase of the deal no money will exchange hands. But, if the initial phase of the deal is successful, it could lead to a broader collaboration aimed at the joint development of cancer therapies, Cartwright said.

Alan Eastman, professor of pharmacology and toxicology at the Dartmouth Medical School in Hanover, New Hampshire, is in charge of the group working with Proteom.

“We and several other groups at Dartmouth are conducting a number of exciting research projects that hold promise for a better understanding of the treatment of cancer,” Eastman said in a statement. “This collaboration will help to strengthen our mission to develop new cures for cancer.”

Proteom of Cambridge, UK, is 18 months old and has 10 employees. The company is currently engaged in raising its first round of venture capital.

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