Belgian protein biomarker firm Pronota said this week it has signed an agreement with Molecuence Corporation – a wholly owned subsidiary of Mitsubishi Chemical – to discover and validate protein biomarkers in stroke.
Pronota will use its proprietary biomarker discovery platform MASStermind and verification platform MASSterclass on the project, the financial terms of which were not disclosed.
According to the company, its MASStermind system streamlines biomarker development by selecting for analysis only the N-terminal tryptic peptides of each protein, thereby significantly reducing sample complexity. The MASSterclass verification platform then uses multiple-reaction monitoring mass spectrometry to do targeted analysis of putative biomarkers.
Broadly speaking, this two-stage process coupling mass spec-based biomarker discovery with a targeted MRM-MS verification step is similar to a workflow for discovery and verification of stroke-related biomarkers currently under development by scientists from Thermo Fisher Scientific's BRIMS Center (See story this issue). That project is proceeding in collaboration with researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital.
In addition to mass spec-based biomarker discovery, Pronota is also working on antibody-based diagnostics for diseases including heart failure, kidney failure, preeclampsia, sepsis, and ovarian cancer. Last June the company completed a proof-of-concept study using aptamers to bind target proteins, which they then quantified by sequencing the bound aptamers using next-generation sequencing technology (PM 06/04/2010).
The company has filed two patents based on that research and is currently exploring the use of NGS to improve aptamer generation.