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Thermo Fisher Sublicenses Proteome Sciences' TMT Technology to Life Tech

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Thermo Fisher Scientific has sublicensed Proteome Sciences' isobaric mass tag technology to Life Technologies, Proteome Sciences said this week in its half-year financial earnings release.

In 2008, Thermo Fisher licensed the technology, called TMT, from Proteome Sciences [See PM 04/10/08]. As part of the agreement Thermo Fisher's Pierce Biotechnology unit has the ability to sublicense the technology to a third-party.

Proteome Sciences this week said it has consented to the sublicense agreement between Thermo Fisher and Life Tech, whose iTRAQ reagents is a technology that Proteome Sciences has said is based on the TMT technology. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

As part of the agreement, Life Tech will also withdraw any opposition against Proteome Sciences' European TMT patents. In early 2008, Applera, which had been the parent firm of Life Tech division Applied Biosystems, filed a challenge to the European patent, saying it lacked novelty and did not "disclose the invention in a manner sufficiently clear and complete for it to be carried out" by a knowledgeable person," among other reasons [See PM 03/27/08].

Proteome Sciences said in its earnings report that it expects the agreement to add $2 million (£1.3 million) in revenue to its fourth quarter. The company will receive royalties on iTRAQ sales to 2021, it added.

It further said that in collaboration with Thermo Fisher, a new tag CysTMT has been developed and is expected to be launched in the first quarter of 2010. Tagging with CysTMT targets a specific set of peptides and offers a range of applications different from the standard TMT tags. CysTMT is particularly applicable for direct labeling of more complex mixtures such as plasma and removes the need for prior depletion, Proteome Sciences said.

For the six months ended June 30, the company reported revenues of £90,321 ($144,357), an 89 percent drop from £813,420 ($1.3 million) from the first six months of 2008. Losses widened to £2.4 million ($3.8 million) from £2.3 million ($3.7 million)in the year-ago period.

In a statement, R.S. Harris, chairman of the company, said that while the "timing and levels of revenues from TMT have been below our expectations, they have shown strong quarterly growth and we expect to see such growth continuing for both TMT sales and the isobaric mass tag market as a whole."

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