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Blueprint, Munich Information Center of Protein Sciences, Proteome Systems, Oxford Genome Sciences, Beckman Coulter, GenWay Biotech, NIST, Cryptome, Invitrogen, Dynal, Galapagos, TNO, Monash University, GE Healthcare


Blueprint, Munich Information Center of Protein Sciences
Seek to Improve Both BIND and MIPS Databases

Blueprint Initiative and the Munich Information Center of Protein Sciences said that the European center will adopt Blueprint data-assembly practices and become an active participant in the curation of peer-reviewed scientific data for Blueprints' Biomolecular Interaction Network Database.

"Where MIPS appends interaction information of genomic data, Blueprint North America curates interactions by referring to genomic data," said Chris Hogue, the leader of Blueprint who is also a researcher at Toronto's Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute. "I am very enthusiastic about marrying MIPS' expertise of genome annotation with BIND's robust data model and curation practices."

MIPS is hosted by the Institute for Bioinformatics, which is part of the GSF-National Research Center for Environment and Health.

Hans-Werner Mewes, the director of IBI, said that the new agreement effectively brings together complementary aspects of MIPS and BIND, which will allow for the advancement of both databases.

"MIPS and BIND have long shared a mutual respect," he said. "[This agreement] will allow us to advance MIPS and BIND towards our common goal of capturing and serving up the world's interaction data as equal partners."

Proteome Systems to Build Consumables
Manufacturing Plant in Massachusetts

Proteome Systems of Sydney, Australia, has leased approximately 8,000 square feet of laboratory and manufacturing space in Woburn, Mass., according to a local newspaper.

The company will use the property to build a facility to manufacture consumable products, according to a report in the Woburn Advocate.

Proteome Sciences Stands to Receive $2.3M For
Exclusively Licensing its TMT Proteomic Tech

Proteome Sciences has exclusively licensed its Tandem Mass Tags to an undisclosed "major global healthcare player," the company said last week.

Proteome Sciences stands to receive $2.3 million from the healthcare company. That sum includes milestone patent payments and a signing fee, together with double-digit royalties on sales.

Stephan Hamill, an analyst at Clear Capital, said the healthcare company was likely to be GE Healthcare, Applied Biosystems, or Beckman Coulter.

According to Proteome Sciences, the TMT chemical mass tags increase the output of proteomics experiments by reducing sample complexity. Combined with mass spectrometry and bioinformatics, the technology allows for more accurate and sensitive quantification and identification of protein biomarkers in complex biological materials such as tissue or body fluids.

Proteome Sciences also announced today a collaboration with ReGen Therapeutics for the characterization of Colostrinin, a proline-rich polypeptide complex derived from cows which ReGen is developing as a human and veterinary nutraceutical.

Proteome Sciences will apply its proprietary ProteoSHOP proteomic technologies to the biochemical characterization and activity profiling of Colostrinin.

Oxford Genome Sciences Closes Second Round of Financing

Oxford Genome Sciences has closed a second round of venture capital investment, the company said this week. The size of the investment was not disclosed.

Oxford said the financing has allowed it to move into a larger custom-built proteomics facility near Oxford, UK. The funding will also be used to accelerate the company's growth, primarily through partnerships.

According to Oxford, the South East Growth Fund, an existing investor, led the round. Oxford Capital Partners participated as a new investor.

Beckman Coulter Takes Exclusive
License to GenWay Biotech's Microbeads

Beckman Coulter has obtained an exclusive license to microbead technology made by San Diego-based GenWay Biotech, the companies announced last week.

Under the terms of the agreement, GenWay will provide Beckman with access to its IgY microbead technology, which can be used to selectively partition the most abundant proteins from human serum or plasma in sample preparation for proteomics applications.

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

NIST Adds 2D Inhibitor Data to
HIV Protein Structure Database

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has released a beta version of a new database containing 2D structural information for HIV protease inhibitors, an NIST researcher said last week.

Speaking at Cambridge Healthtech Institute's annual Virtual Screening and Structure-Based Drug Design conference, Thalapady Bhat, senior scientist in NIST's biotechnology division, said that a beta version of the 2D chemical structure resource went live last week.

The database is a component of the HIV Structural Reference Database (HIVSD) that NIST launched in July, which contains HIV-related protein structures derived from the Protein Data Bank as well as previously unpublished structures from other resources. According to Bhat, the database contains 70 percent more HIV protease structures than are available in the PDB.

The new resource adds 2D chemical structures for around 500 active HIV protease inhibitors, Bhat said.

HIVSD, available here, is a collaboration between NIST, the National Cancer Institute, and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Bhat said that the database has recorded nearly 2 million hits so far.

Bhat said that the new 2D chemical information is fully integrated with the 3D protein structural data, and that NIST has indexed the 2D information so that users can search the database with text strings or chemical features using a new algorithm called Chem-BLAST (Chemical Block Layered Alignment of Structure Technique).

Australia's Cryptome to Use Northeastern
University's Proteomics Technology

Cryptome Pharmaceuticals, a Melbourne, Australia-based drug discovery firm, said this week that it has signed an agreement with Northeastern University to use proteomics technology developed at the university.

Cryptome said it will use technology developed by William Hancock at Northeastern, which identifies and isolates low-abundance human proteins.

Hancock is a member of Cryptome's scientific advisory board.

Cryptome said that the methodology will augment its own discovery platform, which uses high-throughput screening to identify peptides of natural proteins that have previously unrecognized potential as therapeutic drugs.

Cryptome will retain all commercial rights to new drug candidates developed as part of the collaboration.

Invitrogen Closes $391M Dynal Acquisition

Invitrogen closed its acquisition of privately held Dynal Biotech in a deal valued at approximately $391 million, the company said last week.

The deal gives Invitrogen Dynal's Dynabeads magnetic separation-technology business and its HLA diagnostics segment. The acquisition, announced in February, moves Invitrogen for the first time into an FDA-regulated market through Dynal's in vitro diagnostics customers like Roche Diagnostics and Bayer.

Invitrogen bought Dynal, which has operations in China, from majority owner Nordic Capital of Sweden. The firm supplies magnetic particles to diagnostics manufacturers for use in high-throughput automated immunoassays as well as other diagnostic instrument systems. Nordic and Ratos purchased Dynal for $190 million in 2001.

Taiwan's CGMH Expands Use of Bruker
Daltonics' Mass Spec Technology

The Chang-Gung Memorial Hospital has expanded its use of Bruker Daltonics mass-spectrometry instrumentation to include one of its operating clinics in Kaohsiung, the hospital said this week.

CGMH, based in Taipei, implemented a Bruker ClinProt system for MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry-based clinical proteomics and biomarker analysis at its facility in Linkou last year. Now, it will establish a similar ClinProt set up in Kaohsiung, CGMH said.

Additionally, the existing ClinProt platform in Linkou will be expanded by additional sample preparation and mass spectrometry technologies to analyze and identify potential protein biomarkers, CGMH said.

Specific terms of CGMH's arrangement with Bruker were not disclosed.

Galapagos Teams with Dutch Research Group to
Develop Protein Methods for Target Characterization

Galapagos of Belgium and TNO, a Dutch applied science research organization, are collaborating to characterize potential drug targets from Galapagos, the partners said this week.

Under the project, which is part of a research program sponsored by the Dutch government, TNO, and Galapagos will develop protein technologies to characterize disease targets. The technologies include expression systems, protein purification methods, and techniques to measure protein activity.

Monash University Purchases GE Healthcare
Protein Purification Platform

GE Healthcare said this week that Monash University in Victoria, Australia, has purchased a GE Healthcare AKTAxpress parallel protein-purification workstation.

The purchase has been funded through an Australian Research Council Linkage Infrastructure Equipment and Facilities grant for an undisclosed amount. The grant was awarded to a cadre of professors from the University of Monash, University of Melbourne, and the Walter and Eliza Health Institute, GE said.

According to GE, the AKTAxpress system is sold with two or four modules per system. Monash purchased three complete four-module systems for a 12-module system — the largest configuration of its kind in the world, GE said. The system enables production of as many as 48 proteins simultaneously.

The new workstation will be "closely linked" to Victoria's $180 million Australian Synchrotron facility, slated to open in 2007, GE said.