NEW YORK, Sept 19 - Compugen (Nasdaq: CGEN) of Tel Aviv, Israel announced Tuesday the release of Z3, a high-throughput 2 dimensional gel electrophoresis analysis system, marking the company's first foray into the burgeoning proteomics market.
2D gel electrophoresis is the method of choice for separating complex mixtures of proteins, the first step in the typical proteomics research workflow. However, the 2D gel technique is only partially exploited due to difficulties in reproducing the technique and analyzing the results.
Z3 automates the 2D gel analysis process through the use of proprietary algorithms for both gel comparisons and the computation of differential expression, the company said.
Compugen president and CEO Eli Mintz said that Z3 borrows techniques used by other Israeli companies such as Orbotech (Nasdaq: ORBK), which develops optical equipment for inspecting and imaging circuit boards and display panels.
The “technology in under one minute automatically aligns two different pictures,” Mintz said. “One gel is magenta, the other is green. And when you put one on top of the other, the picture becomes black. The computer automatically aligns and registers the pictures at the pixel level and where you see the different colors, you know that’s the difference.”
Once the proteins are extracted, they can be put through a mass spectrometer for analysis.
The Z3 software system is now commercially available under various licensing arrangements, including a pay-per-gel subscription model, by which gel analysis is consumed similarly to a reagent.
Compugen, which began as a hardware developer, has recently repositioned itself as a proteomics, software, and Web portal company.
Compugen is currently beta-testing the incorporation of a Z3-based 2D gel image analysis service into the company’s Internet-based genomic portal, LabOnWeb.com. Commercial availability of Z3 over LabOnWeb.com is anticipated by the fourth quarter of this year.
The company’s stock was down 11/16, or 4.4 percent, at 15 in afternoon trading.