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Structural Bioinformatics To Roll Out Protein Databases, Platform

NEW YORK, Nov 8 - In the first quarter of 2001, Structural Bioinformatics expects to ship three new shrink-wrapped products based on its proprietary protein modeling technique, the company said Wednesday.

These products include the Promax database of over 2,500 DNA-based protein models, StructureBank storage platform for proprietary proteins, and the Variome database of 30,000 structures for HIV protease and reverse transcriptase.

The underlying concept driving all three products is the company’s three-dimensional homology modeling technique, which uses proprietary algorithms to predict the structure of proteins that will be encoded by specific genetic material, said Michael Honeysett, SBI’s director of market development.

“The real power here is we are able to take DNA sequences and turn them into protein models,” said Honeysett. “Once we have the models we are able to screen proteins and small molecules against those models to determine interaction or binding interactions.”

The modeling technique, which took four years to develop, can predict structure within .5 to 2 angstroms, said Honeysett, whereas threading, the traditional modeling technique, can only predict proteins within 5 to 10 angstroms.

The company has been developing the software products with the collaboration of several large pharma companies, and will market the first two products to the pharma and biotech industries to accelerate therapeutic discovery efforts. The third product, which the company is co-marketing with Quest Diagnostics, is expected to have clinical applications for HIV treatment.

Structural Bioinformatics hopes that Structurebank, which runs on an Oracle platform, will become the industry standard platform for storing protein models.

“It’s a relational database. Our goal is to shrink wrap it and make it a turnkey system that anyone working near proteomics can use to store their own structures, said Honeysett.

SBI is also developing a DB2 version of the system with IBM, and is exploring the possibility of licensing some of its existing protein structure models to pharma companies on a time-limited exclusive basis. These models would be added options, on top of the basic models included in the Promax package.

Amid this news, this privately-held company has made no further indications regarding its plans to go public. Several weeks ago, a source within the company said that Structural Bioinformatics was planning to file an S1 statement for an IPO with the US Securities and Exchange Commission before November. However, the company has not yet filed a statement and declined to comment on whether and when it would be filing for an offering.
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