NEW YORK, Feb. 14 - Scientists from two prestigious AIDS research lab will work with Ciphergen Biosystems in a pair of collaborations designed to profile immunological proteins in long-term non-progressors, a class of patient who have had HIV for decades but who have not developed AIDS.
In the first arrangement, a Collaborative Research and Development Agreement, immunologists from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease will use Ciphergen's protein chips to profile non-cytolytic antiviral factors recently discovered in some HIV-positive patients.
Under the agreement, Ciphergen retains some commercial rights to the technology.
In a separate but similar Research and License Agreement, Rockefeller University's Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center will use Ciphergen's protein chip system to probe other soluble factors secreted by the cytotoxic T cells found in long-term nonprogressors.
These proteins might be used directly as antiviral agents, or point the way to future drug targets, ADARC CEO David Ho said in a statement.
Ciphergen will have therapeutic and diagnostic rights to discoveries made in the collaboration, and ADARC will receive royalties on any commercializable products.
AIDS researchers have long been puzzled by long-term non-progressors, who represent a tiny fraction of the HIV-positive population. Immunologists hope that studying these patients may point the way to better treatments or an anti-HIV vaccine.
"Our technology is extremely good at differential protein analysis, where you might take a serum sample of an HIV-infected person, do a protein profile, and compare to a serum sample from someone with HIV who has not progressed," said Ciphergen Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Matthew Hogan. "Our platform can work extremely rapidly, and pick up different parts of the proteome than other techniques."
ADARC and Ciphergen researchers have already identified several candidate biomarkers with the Ciphergen ProteinChip system, and company researchers will continue to work the HIV scientists to fine-tune the expression profiling.
Ciphergen's ProteinChip systems is designed to allow researchers to identify protein biomarkers and biomarker patterns, making it useful in diagnostics and toxicology studies. The system is currently used by AstraZeneca, BASF, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Novartis, Pfizer, and Pharmacia, among others.