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NextGen and Cytomyx to Develop Protein Biochips for Cancer

NEW YORK, Jan. 16 - NextGen Sciences, Cytomyx, and a University of Cambridge cancer researcher have struck a collaboration to identify proteins involved in the progress of breast cancer and potentially use data from the process to develop new protein biochips.


In order to develop the chips, Cambridge, UK-based Cytomyx will provide clones of up to 1,000 full-length genes taken from its collection of cDNA libraries. NextGen will then subclone the genes into a series of its own vectors, creating a protein library that may be directly attached to the biochip surface.


As part of the three-year partnership, originally announced on Jan. 10, Cytomyx will get early access to biochips developed in the deal. The research group led by the professor, Carlos Caldas, already uses biopsy cell lines to study gene expression in breast cancer and has agreed to validate the new chips.


These chips will be marketed to cancer researchers, but will also serve as a prototype and demonstration for the utility of protein biochips in studies with human tissue.


Developing these new protein chips will require "factory-like processes and advanced automation," NextGen CEO Kevin Auton said in a statement. "To do this we have developed a series of high throughput protocols suitable for systematic protein expression, and we have begun to automate each step."


NextGen, also headquartered in Cambridge, is developing new biochip surfaces and new ways to attach proteins to biochips.


Caldas' team is creating a relational database that links mRNA expression and clinical information in breast cancer. The partnership with NextGen and Cytomyx will further this research by introducing new techniques in protein expression analysis, Caldas said in the statement. The partners plan to make this database freely available.


The project is funded in part by an award from the British Medical Research Council's LINK Programme in Applied Genomics.

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