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Prolexys, Arizona State University, General Electric, Amersham, Structural Genomics Consortium, RoboDesign International, Target Discovery, PrecisionMed, Pfizer, Proteos, ABI, Activx, Gilead

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Prolexys Collaborates with Arizona State on Vasorelaxation

Prolexys Pharmaceuticals announced this week that it has signed a proteomics-based research collaboration with the Arizona Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University.

The researchers will work together to discover peptides and small molecules that modulate vascular tone, with the goal of developing therapies to prevent certain types of stroke as well as the vasodilatory shock associated with hypothermia and sepsis. The project goal is to “produce promising lead candidates within the year,” Prolexys said.

The collaboration is based on studies at the Arizona Biodesign Institute involving signal transduction pathways leading to vasorelaxation. Prolexys will use its peptide-based pull-down approach to characterize and isolate interacting proteins in the pathway. These proteins will be used to create assays to screen for modulators of the vasodilation process in smooth muscle, the company said.


GE Closes Amersham Deal

General Electric closed its acquisition of Amersham PLC this week, officially naming former Amersham CEO Bill Castell as president and CEO of GE Healthcare. Amersham Biosciences’ former discovery systems — which include proteomics — and protein separations units will both become part of the new $3 billion GE Healthcare Biosciences business, effective April 8.


SGC Selects RoboDesign’s Protein Crystal Technology

Laboratory automation firm RoboDesign International announced this week that the Structural Genomics Consortium has selected its CrystalMation protein crystal imaging and analysis technology as its standard protein crystallography platform.

The SGC was launched in April 2003 with the goal of developing the infrastructure and technologies necessary to determine 200 protein structures per year, and has said it will target 350 medically significant proteins over the first four years.

The SGC will use the Minstrel III and RoboIncubator combinations of the CrystalMation platform in its high-throughput crystallography facility at the University of Oxford. RoboDesign said that it would deliver the systems this May.


Target Discovery Partners with PrecisionMed on Peptides for Autism

Target Discovery and PrecisionMed announced this week that they will collaborate to study the role of certain peptides in childhood autism.

Under the agreement, Target Discovery, based in Palo Alto, Calif., will use its technology to determine the source of opioid-like peptides in samples from autistic children provided by PrecisionMed.

Target Discovery has been working on a protein separation platform based on capillary electrophoresis and mass spectrometry (see PM 3-25-02).


Former Pfizer Employees Open Protein/Peptide Production Service in Kalamazoo

Eight former Pfizer employees this week officially launched a protein and peptide production service called Proteos, according to the Kalamazoo Gazette, a local newspaper located in Kalamazoo, Mich.

The service will be located within the Southwest Michigan Innovation Center, although Proteos plans to find its own facilities within two years. It has already made deals with three major clients, including Wayne State University and the University of Virginia, according to CEO Tom Danner.

The former Pfizer employees originally joined up to start the company last November, after receiving $1.2 million in equipment from Pfizer and $600,000 from the Michigan Life Sciences Corridor, Western Michigan University’s Biosciences Research and Commercialization Center, private funds, and its own resources.


ABI To Repurchase $100M in Common Stock

Applied Biosystems announced this week that the Applera Board of Directors has authorized the repurchase of up to $100 million in common stock. This follows upon the repurchase of $200 million already completed this fiscal year. There are no time restrictions on the new authorization.


Activx Partners with Gilead Sciences

Activx Biosciences announced this week that it will apply its activity proteomics technology to characterize the activities of compounds for Foster City, Calif.-based Gilead Sciences.

Activx has similar deals already with Pfizer and Kyorin Pharmaceuticals. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.