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UPDATE: OGS in 5-Year Deal with ISB to Develop ICAT-Based Proteomics Platform

This story has been updated from a previous version.

NEW YORK, April 5 - Oxford GlycoSciences and the Institute for Systems Biology said Thursday they had reached a five-year deal to collaborate on the development of the Isotope Coded Affinity Tag method for its proteomics efforts.

Andrew Lyall, chief information officer at OGS, said that under the terms of the deal, his company would buy the ICAT reagents from Applied Biosystems, which has commercialized ICAT, and then use the reagents to industrialize the company’s platform for identifying proteins for drug discovery.

“We’re using the reagents with our 2-D gel platform and the TOF/TOF to make tools for drug discovery,” said Lyall, referring to Applied Biosystems’ Maldi TOF/TOF mass spectrometer. "We're the right partner to industrialize what [the ISB] has done."

Seattle-based ISB has agreed to work exclusively with OGS of Oxford, UK, to develop the proteomics technology. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Lyall said that Applied Biosystems had granted OGS a license to use the reagents with no reach through rights to future revenues generated from the use of the reagents.

ICAT reagents facilitate comparison and analysis of proteins in diseased and healthy tissue and are designed to be more sensitive to lower quantities of protein than 2D gels and provide more accurate information about the quantities of protein in a given sample. They work by tagging cysteine peptides of proteins in different tissue samples with differently weighted isotopes of a molecule.

After the proteins are tagged, an enzyme then chops them up into fragments, and the protein fragments are analyzed using a mass spectrometer. The ones tagged with a heavier isotope show a larger mass when put through the mass spectrometer, enabling researchers to distinguish which proteins are expressed in the different samples. 

OGS is building a pipeline of small molecule and antibody drugs and diagnostic tools. The company also provides proteomic services to pharma and life science customers.

In November, Applied Biosystems exclusively licensed the ICAT reagents, which were developed by the ISB's Ruedi Aebersold while he was a professor at the University of Washington. ABI was scheduled to begin shipping ICAT kits in March.

Both Aebersold and Leroy Hood, president of the ISB, serve on OGS’s scientific advisory board.

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