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P&G Makes Proteomics Debut in Licensing Deal with APBiotech

NEW YORK, Dec 19 - Amersham Pharmacia Biotech said Tuesday that it had agreed to exclusively license a technology from Procter & Gamble that would increase the percentage of proteins and peptides that can be identified using APB’s Ettan MALDI-ToF mass spectrometry analysis system.

P&G spokesman Ed Bastian said that this is the first time the company has licensed a technology to the proteomics sector.

Under the terms of the agreement, APB and P&G will jointly develop the Peptide Derivatization Technology, which will work with APB’s Ettan MALDI-ToF Post-Source Decay analysis system.

The Peptide Derivatization Technology chemistry enables defined fragmentation of peptides, allowing for straightforward interpretation of the mass spectrometry data. Sequence stretches from the proteins are obtained and then fed into databases for matching and identification.

APB plans to use the chemistry to help non-mass spectrometry researchers rapidly identify proteins and peptides that are difficult to identify without specialized technicians and advanced mass spectrometry equipment.

According to Keith Ellis, associate director of technology acquisitions at P&G, the technology was initially developed by P&G researcher Thomas Keough to improve knowledge of protein structures for researchers in the company’s health care business unit. It chemically treats peptide structures to cause breakup and derivatization, allowing for much quicker identification of amino acid elements.

APB has licensed two patents that protect the technology from P&G.

“This is a kind of technology that has broad appeal, so it makes more sense to commercialize it on a wide basis,” Ellis said. “We spoke to a number of companies, but APB was unique as an equipment manufacturer who also sold supplies to laboratories.”

The technology will be sold as a kit to researchers so they can “cookbook treat” proteins for further analysis, Ellis said.

Bastian said that the licensing agreement is the latest example of P&G’s plan to “open its vault” of 27,000 patented technologies. The company currently uses only three percent of these, Bastian said, and is actively pursuing sales, licensing, and donation partnerships to ensure development of the remaining 93 percent.  

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

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