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GeneProt, Serono, Ciphergen, LumiCyte, Diagnostic Products, Compugen, MelTec, Fraunhofer Institute, Syn X Pharma, Biacore


GeneProt Offers Proteins to Serono for Testing and Licensing

Last week, GeneProt of Geneva announced an agreement with Geneva-based biopharmaceutical firm Serono that might lead to a licensing deal for GeneProt’s proteins.

Under the agreement, which will initially last for one year, Serono will receive a set of less than 50 synthesized polypeptides and proteins from GeneProt to test using its screening platform. The company then has an option to license the proteins exclusively.

GeneProt discovered the proteins “using our own data mining capability,” said CSO Keith Rose in a statement. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. However, according to Nick Miles, Serono’s director of media, the agreement is “very small,” compared to other partnerships.


Ciphergen vs. LumiCyte Licensing and Trade Secret Trial Postponed to March 3

Ciphergen and LumiCyte, both of Fremont, Calif., have postponed their civil trial to March 3, according to officials at the Santa Clara County Superior Court in Santa Clara, Calif., where the trial is to be held. A settlement conference is scheduled for February 26th.

The lawsuit addresses the issue of who has the right to sell the chip-based SELDI technology, which both companies licensed from their common progenitor, Molecular Analytical Systems (MAS).


Diagnostic Products and Compugen to Develop Diagnostic Cancer Assays

Compugen of Tel Aviv has granted Diagnostic Products of Los Angeles an exclusive license to develop and market diagnostic assays based on two novel prostate-specific protein markers. The assays will be used to screen, detect, and monitor prostate and other cancers, the two companies said last week.

In exchange, Compugen will receive undisclosed milestone payments and royalties based on the commercialization of its intellectual property, including sales by Diagnostic Products of any immunoassay- based products.

Compugen discovered the two novel markers using its proprietary Leads computational biology platform, and published the findings last year in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. The two proteins are encoded by alternative splice variants of the genes for prostate specific antigen and human kallikrein 2.

MelTec and Fraunhofer Institute Start Collaboration

MelTec of Magdeburg, Germany, and the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology (FIT) of Sankt Augustin, Germany, signed a collaborative agreement last week to develop an information technology platform for the management and interpretation of high-throughput experiments that analyze protein networks of whole cells in situ.

Under the agreement, MelTec and FIT will develop software to analyze and visualize protein networks and to correlate the data with results from in vitro and in vivo experiments. MelTec focuses on characterizing protein networks in single cells (see ProteoMonitor 5-20-02). The Institute for Applied Information Technology is one of the 56 institutes of the Fraunhofer Society in Germany.


Syn X Pharma Co-Authors Nature Medicine Diabetes Article

Researchers from Syn X Pharma are co-authors on an article entitled “Autoimmune islet destruction in spontaneous type 1 diabetes is not ß-cell exclusive” that appeared online last week in Nature Medicine.

The article results from a collaboration the company has had since 1997 with Michael Dosch from the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, the corresponding author of the publication.

According to Syn X, the researchers discovered in an animal model of type 1 diabetes that a very early target of diabetic autoimmunity is not the insulin-producing ß-cells, but a fine layer of nervous system tissue that surrounds these cells. Using a vaccine-type approach to alter autoimmunity, they were able to reduce the development of diabetes in these mice.

Biomarkers identified by Syn X’s proprietary proteomics discovery platform can be used as therapeutic targets and as diagnostic markers for early screening of type 1 diabetes, the company said in a statement.


Biacore Expands Molecular Interaction Consulting Service

Biacore International of Uppsala, Sweden, said last week that it has expanded its contract consulting service to Japan.

The service, introduced in the US last year, provides researchers with expertise in chip-based SPR technology for molecular interaction studies. In addition, it delivers results for one-off projects.

The Scan

Germline-Targeting HIV Vaccine Shows Promise in Phase I Trial

A National Institutes of Health-led team reports in Science that a broadly neutralizing antibody HIV vaccine induced bnAb precursors in 97 percent of those given the vaccine.

Study Uncovers Genetic Mutation in Childhood Glaucoma

A study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation ties a heterozygous missense variant in thrombospondin 1 to childhood glaucoma.

Gene Co-Expression Database for Humans, Model Organisms Gets Update

GeneFriends has been updated to include gene and transcript co-expression networks based on RNA-seq data from 46,475 human and 34,322 mouse samples, a new paper in Nucleic Acids Research says.

New Study Investigates Genomics of Fanconi Anemia Repair Pathway in Cancer

A Rockefeller University team reports in Nature that FA repair deficiency leads to structural variants that can contribute to genomic instability.