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GeneProt Shutting Down; Company May Close By End of Month

NEW YORK, April 15 (GenomeWeb News) - GeneProt will be closing its doors, possibly as soon as at the end of this month, after failing to negotiate new deals in 2004, GenomeWeb News' sister publication, ProteoMonitor, reported this week.


Keith Rose, the former chief scientific officer at the company, said GeneProt had not run out of cash, but was shutting its doors "because closing down was seen as the best way to preserve and not squander the remaining resources."


Rose, who left GeneProt last June, but kept his CSO title and continued consulting with the company until Jan. 1, said GeneProt has already sold off virtually all of its mass sepctrometers to "some sort of reseller or surplus warehouse," and that the company is currently selling off more of its equipment.


The company has about half a dozen employees left, said Rose. He speculated that part of the reason no additional major deals were ever signed after GeneProt's pivotal $91-million discovery deal with Novartis in 2000, was because investors realized that proteomics wasn't delivering blockbuster therapeutics, in the way they had thought it would.


According to Edmond Fischer, a member of GeneProt's scientific advisory board who won the Nobel Prize in medicine/physiology in 1992 for his discovery of protein phosphorylation, GeneProt had over 50 mass spectrometers, in addition to enormous computer facilities and a highly developed bioinformatics group.


"I suppose that it became just too expensive to run all these facilities and operations," said Fischer.


Bertrand Damour, the CEO of GeneProt, said he preferred to give no comment at this time.

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