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UPDATE: Germany s MelTec Publishes Proteomics Paper, Prepares for Drug Discovery

NEW YORK, July 2 – German proteomics company MelTec said Monday its scientists had published a paper in the June 5 issue of IEEE Transactions  describing how the company’s Neuronal Cell Detection System can be used to monitor fluorescent lymphocytes in human tissue.

The paper’s publication comes on the heels of another major breakthrough for the start-up. Last month, MelTec and Evotec of Hamburg, Germany, penned a deal to form a new company that will specialize in drug development. The company, which will be a 50-50 partnership prior to financing, will integrate MelTec’s Whole Cell Protein Fingerprinting technology and Evotec’s drug discovery platform. 

In the paper, “A Neural Classifier Enabling High-Throughput Topological Analysis of Lymphocytes in Tissue Section,” the researchers explain that by using robotic imaging technology they were able to read protein networks in cells and analyze how these networks encode for cellular function.

The article describes that by using MelTec's NCDS algorithm, the biomathematical basis of its proprietary robotic imaging technology known as Multi-Epitope-Ligand-Kartographie, or MELK, the researchers were able to automatically monitor in tissues the number of fluorescent marked migratory cells, the positions of these cells, and the phenotype of these cells.

The NCDS system enabled researchers to conduct high-throughput, reproducible and valid statistical analysis of protein networks involved in disease pathways, MelTec said.

"The NCDS provides a unique tool for analyzing proteomic information that was not available before, linking cellular structure, protein expression and function," Walter Schubert, MelTec’s CEO, said in a statement. "Our system has the potential to become a key technology that paves the way for a more systematic approach to understanding disease pathology and treatment, by looking at how protein networks in cells determine cellular function.”

According to the study, the NCDS is capable of detecting and monitoring at least 85 percent of the cells involved in tissue migration and the protein networks that participate in the involved mechanisms. MelTec said that by understanding cellular migration, it believes that it can better understand diseases such as cancer and arteriosclerosis. 

MelTec is a privately held company based in Magdeburg, Germany. Its MELK technology is designed to perform automated proteomic characterization of single cells and for hundreds of proteins simultaneously.

The company, which has grown to 20 employees from four late last year, has raised 38 million German marks ($16.4 million) to date. Funding came from the Magdeburg Volksbank and the community task program of Saxony-Anhalt, as well as from a grant from Biochance, Germany’s program to facilitate commercialization of new biological technologies.

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