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Montreal Co. s Proteomics Efforts Get $7.5M Boost from Micromass

NEW YORK - Nov. 22, 2000 – Micromass is investing $7.5 million in Montreal-based Caprion Pharmaceuticals’ new proteomics effort, and is setting up a network of its mass spectrometry machines at Caprion’s new proteomics facility, the companies announced Tuesday.

Caprion, a privately owned biotech company founded in 1998, is planning to open its proteomics factory with 16 to 18 mass spectrometers, in April, said Caprion CEO Lloyd Segal.

The facility will be designed to execute Caprion’s proprietary “High Resolution Spatially-resolved” approach to proteomics, which it says allows specific identification of proteins within organelles.

“Our approach actually allows us to identify the total protein complement of an organelle, including the location of the proteins in an organelle membrane and whether they are facing the inner lumen of the organelle or facing the cytoplasm,” said Caprion CEO Lloyd Segal. ” This is a level of resolution no one else is currently providing.”

  Caprion hopes to market this high-resolution analysis to big pharma and big biotech, to complement conventional proteomics efforts of companies such as Oxford Glycosciences and Geneva Proteomics. Currently, the company expects to announce its first pharmaceutical partner in the early part of 2001, and is aiming to have at least two partnerships with pharma in the next year.

“Pharmaceutical companies are under a huge amount of pressure to validate targets, as opposed to getting thousands of likely targets,” Segal said. “They will be looking at our infrastructure as the infrastructure that can de-convolute other proteomics information.” Most of these Mass spec machines will come from Micromass, but other companies’ machines could also form part of the operation. Micromass systems do not have ion traps, and the company may need to purchase a system with an ion trap to do its work.

Caprion chose the Micromass machines because its scientists thought they offered the most complete package. “A lot of companies are out there providing excellent equipment. But micromass has both the range of equipment and associated software,” said Segal.

Caprion, meanwhile, is completing its latest round of financing, in which it expects to raise over $25 million. Eventually, the company plans to go public, but is awaiting better market conditions. “The money we are raising now and the money we have taken in from Micromass will last us a very long time,” said Segal.

 
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