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Incyte, Oxford GlycoSciences Launch Proteomics Databases, Software Tool

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PALO ALTO, Calif.-- Incyte Pharmaceuticals introduced the first products of its 15-month collaboration with Oxford GlycoSciences of Oxford, UK, last month. The companies codeveloped three proteomics database products and a protein analysis software package that they contended comprise the "world's first integrated gene and protein expression technology platform." Drug developers' demands for integrated platforms are sure to spur development of competitive products, but Dana Wheeler, Incyte's investor relations manager, told BioInform that Incyte and Oxford are still "probably the ones with the most information because we have arguably the world's largest gene sequence database, and that's pretty much what's required to be able to identify the protein spots from a 2-D gel."

Wheeler described the collaboration, which was established in January, 1998, as an effort to bring "together what Oxford GlycoSciences does best in high-throughput protein expression analysis and what Incyte has done best in applying protein expression information to a gene sequence database to be able to identify protein spots on a gel and to determine what

those are." She said Incyte has also contributed its informatics expertise to the project. "We've developed the software that enables you to analyze protein expression data, link it back to gene sequence data, and identify what those proteins are," Wheeler explained.

PathoProgram, the first product in the line to be introduced, is a repository of protein expression data from Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans. The database is intended to facilitate discovery and selection of antiinfective drugs. Two additional products to be launched in coming weeks are LifeProgram and PharmacoProgram. The companies said LifeProgram includes several thousand "uniquely identified and characterized proteins" from a range of human systems, and PharmacoProgram will assist in understanding molecular-level toxicology and pharmacology and facilitate lead compound optimization.

Data in the three catalogues can be integrated, visualized, and mined using an accompanying software application, LifeProt. In combination with other Incyte software, LifeTools and LifeArray, the new package will enable users to integrate genomic RNA expression data and protein expression data in a single environment, the companies claimed.

Similar to the way Incyte's other database products have been commercialized, Wheeler said the protein expression databases will be a dynamic product as Oxford and Incyte collaboratively continue to add data. "We're always generating more data to populate the various databases and programs we're entering into, and we'll work very closely with pharmaceutical customers to suit their particular needs in specific areas," she said.

Wheeler said Incyte will market the products to the pharmaceutical industry, starting with its current customers, who include 22 of the leading drug companies. After making up for product development costs, Wheeler said Incyte and Oxford would share revenues from the products.

--Adrienne Burke

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