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Axys Awarded Grants to Develop Proteome Bank, New DNA Analysis Tool

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SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.--Axys Pharmaceuticals has received a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research grant from the US National Institute of General Medical Sciences, to conduct a six-month proteomics research study. The project aims to build a software system and a proprietary database of protein families for high-throughput, accurate prediction of protein function using state-of-the-art bioinformatics tools. The proteome bank database is expected to allow Axys researchers to predict reliably the function of a significant portion of protein sequences derived from any source, based on comparison of DNA sequences.

Axys also won a three-year grant from the US National Institute of Standards and Technology to develop further an advanced approach to DNA analysis known as liquid arrays. The technology, which Axys is developing with Luminex, of Austin, Texas, consists of synthetic DNA attached to fluorescent color-coded miniature beads suspended in liquid.

Andy Watson, Axys's director of genomics technology and principal investigator for the program, said the system "should enable us to custom synthesize arrays of up to 1 million different chosen DNA fragments, each on a different type of microsphere."

"Processing these arrays in parallel in standard laboratory microplates is expected to allow us to analyze up to 1.5 billion DNA assays simultaneously," he added.

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