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PerkinElmer, Axxam to Develop Ion-Channel, GPCR Cell Lines Based on Axxam Photina Tech

Axxam and PerkinElmer plan to research and develop GPCR and ion-channel cell lines based on Axxam’s Photina technology for use in high-throughput screening and compound profiling applications, Axxam said this week.
The deal also made PerkinElmer the exclusive worldwide distributor of the Photina technology, thereby strengthening its position in the GPCR screening market, according to Richard Eglen, PerkinElmer’s vice president for discovery and research agents.
Axxam, based in Milan, Italy, retains the rights to use the technology for its drug-discovery services (see CBA News, 5/11/07).
Eglen told CBA News this week that the agreement builds on PerkinElmer’s acquisition of Euroscreen and its AequoScreen photoprotein technology back in January.
“The ability to commercialize Photina at this time rounds off our offerings in the luminescent photoprotein technology market,” Eglen said.
Eglen said that the R&D portion of the Axxam alliance will allow PerkinElmer to extend its screening platforms from GPCRs and kinases to ion channels. He said the company felt this is an important direction to take because the current market for Ca2+ GPCRs and ion channel screening is estimated to be approximately $45 million.
Eglen also said that PerkinElmer perceives the demand for luminescent assays to be growing by more than 20 percent annually. He declined to elaborate.
The deal also makes sense to Axxam. According to CEO and co-founder Stefan Lohmer, the company needs a big partner to help it penetrate the global drug discovery and compound screening markets. Also, Axxam would like to concentrate on internal research programs, which having a partner like PerkinElmer allows it to do, Lohmer said.

“The ability to commercialize Photina at this time rounds off our offerings in the luminescent photoprotein technology market.”

Eglen said that PerkinElmer is familiar with Axxam’s luminescent technology because it validated the technology with its LumiLux luminescent reader. So to Eglen, the natural next step was to pen the R&D collaboration and gain exclusive rights to sell Photina.
Photina can generate very large luminescent signals, which often results in higher quality data, said Eglen. In addition, he said that luminescent photoproteins such as Photina may give fewer false positives compared to other methods when screening GPCRs and ion channels. Eglen said that luminescence allows researchers to look at some novel kinds of drugs, such as allosteric regulators.
Luminescent proteins can help researchers to improve their throughputs and reduce reagent costs, said Eglen. He also said that Axxam and PerkinElmer will be producing a series of cell lines that have GPCR plus Photina.
Eglen said that for PerkinElmer, developing reagent systems that measure luminescence, particularly in the area of cell biology, is very important. He explained that as a general strategy, the company is always looking to build out technologies in the area of kinases and ion channels.

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