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Protagen, Mikrogen to Co-Develop Infectious Disease Diagnostics

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By Justin Petrone

Protagen has partnered with Mikrogen to develop infectious disease tests based on Protagen's UNIarray protein chip platform.

The German firms said this week that they have conducted a feasibility study for identifying autoantibody signatures in infectious diseases that may be useful for future diagnostics.

Peter Schulz-Knappe, chief scientific officer and executive vice president of diagnostics at Protagen, said in a statement that the companies were "able to show that infection-specific reactions of the immune system are accompanied by the generation of specific autoantibodies" which he deemed "very useful" for the company's joint diagnostic program.

"The cooperation with Protagen secures Mikrogen the access to an important and novel technology platform," said Erwin Soutschek, co-founder and managing director of Neuried-based Mikrogen, in a statement. He added that the firms will jointly develop and market marker panels for differential diagnosis of relevant infectious diseases.

Dortmund-based Protagen has positioned its UNIarray platform for the development of serum-based diagnostics. The company has ongoing development programs for prostate cancer and multiple sclerosis tests. Protagen also has research programs in neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson and Alzheimer's, and colon, breast, pancreatic, and ovarian cancers. The firm has also launched a UNIchip line of protein microarrays for the development of antibodies.

Mikrogen offers a menu of tests for bacterial, parasitic, autoimmune, and viral diseases that are run on the Luminex xMAP platform, in PCR systems, and in enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays.

Financial and other terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

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