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Archemix, SomaLogic, Large Scale Biology, Myriad Proteomics, Ciphergen, Structural Genomix, Cambridge Antibody Technology, Dyax

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Archemix and Somalogic to Collaborate on Aptamers

Cambridge, Mass.-based Archemix and Boulder, Colo.-based SomaLogic announced this week that they will collaborate on the development and marketing of aptamers for diagnostics and therapeutics applications.

Aptamers are single-stranded nucleic acids that can be used to fish out target proteins for drug discovery. The deal grants SomaLogic exclusive rights to aptamer-based diagnostics and ex vivo detection applications, and Archemix exclusive rights to aptamer therapeutics. The two companies will cross-license rights for target validation and drug screening and will jointly pursue and hold any patents.


LSBC Wins Grants for Biomarkers, HIV Vaccine

Vacaville, Calif.-based Large Scale Biology this week announced the receipt of two NIH grants. The first, totaling in the “hundreds of thousands” of dollars over 18 months, according to company spokesman Dan Moriarty, was awarded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and will be applied toward the search for biomarkers for diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment of alcohol-related diseases. Moriarty said that LSBC will use 2D gels, fluorescent staining and image analysis, and mass spec analysis to look for the markers. The goal will be to generate a database of changes in protein expression from different areas of the brain in response to alcohol. LSBC will work on the project in collaboration with the Indiana University Alcohol Research Center, which will provide samples and data interpretation, Moriarty said.

The second grant will focus on epitope display on the surface of viral vectors as a method for developing therapeutic HIV-1 peptide vaccines.


Myriad Proteomics becomes Prolexys Pharma

Salt Lake City-based Myriad Proteomics announced this week that it was changing its name to Prolexys Pharmaceuticals. The change comes as a reflection of the company’s “new strategic focus,” according to a statement. Since recently morphing its focus from technology development to drug discovery focus (see PM 7-4-03), the company now is concentrating on looking for protein-protein interactions and doing target discovery and validation.

“Our new name, Prolexys, culminates the organizational and strategic transformation that has occurred here,” Thomas Ingolia, CEO of the newly named company, said in the statement.


Clinical Proteomics Market Report Singles Out Ciphergen; Sees Protein Array As Future

A report recently published by the Arlington, Va.-based marketing firm Bioinformatics entitled “Clinical Proteomics: A First-Glance Market Report” found that most proteomics researchers felt that protein expression patterns were the most accurate way to identify diseases in the early stages and to determine the most effective courses of treatment. The report cited Ciphergen’s ProteinChip system as a popular system for conducting protein profiling experiments (see Ciphergen story, p. 1), and it focused on protein arrays as a key emerging technology. According to the report, 23 percent of the 300 study respondents used protein arrays, and of these, half obtained their arrays from commercials suppliers, mostly from Ciphergen or BD Biosciences Clontech.

The report said that respondents cited inadequate databases for biomarker analysis, difficulty obtaining clinical samples, and poor sample quality as major limitations to conducting effective protein profiling. The report cited cancer and infectious disease as the two best current candidates for protein profiling.

The report can be accessed for a fee at http://www.gene2drug.com/reports.


SGX Expands Collaboration with Boehringer Ingelheim

San Diego-based Structural Genomix announced this week that it is expanding its current collaboration with Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals. The agreement will expand the companys’ work on lead optimization to allow BIPI to use SGX’s synchrotron beamline facility for additional drug discovery projects. Under the terms of the expansion, SGX will produce crystal structure data for BIPI’s targets.


CAT and Dyax Expand Licensing Agreement

UK-based Cambridge Antibody Technology and Cambridge, Mass.-based Dyax announced this week that they have expanded their January 2003 agreement to increase the number of options that Dyax has for licenses to develop therapeutic and diagnostic antibodies that are patented by CAT. As such, Dyax will not have to pay royalties for the use of CAT’s patented Humira antibody, which has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration as a therapeutic for rheumatoid arthritis.

The Scan

Study Finds Few FDA Post-Market Regulatory Actions Backed by Research, Public Assessments

A Yale University-led team examines in The BMJ safety signals from the US FDA Adverse Event Reporting System and whether they led to regulatory action.

Duke University Team Develops Programmable RNA Tool for Cell Editing

Researchers have developed an RNA-based editing tool that can target specific cells, as they describe in Nature.

Novel Gene Editing Approach for Treating Cystic Fibrosis

Researchers in Science Advances report on their development of a non-nuclease-based gene editing approach they hope to apply to treat cystic fibrosis.

Study Tracks Responses in Patients Pursuing Polygenic Risk Score Profiling

Using interviews, researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics qualitatively assess individuals' motivations for, and experiences with, direct-to-consumer polygenic risk score testing.