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Protagen and NMI Collaborating on Protein Dx for Cancer and Autoimmune Diseases

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German diagnostics firm Protagen and the Natural and Medical Sciences Institute at the University of Tübingen said this week that they have signed an agreement to jointly develop multiplex assays for the diagnosis of autoimmune diseases and cancer.

The partnership stems from pilot studies conducted by Protagen and NMI over the past two years, the parties said.

"For several years our focus has been on development of testing systems using planar and bead-based protein microarrays," NMI professor Hugo Hämmerle said in a statement. "The cooperation with Protagen allows us to collaborate on the commercialization of assays for personalized medicine."

Protagen's UNIarray protein array platform uses recombinant human proteins to detect auto-antibodies in patient serum, enabling researchers to screen samples for auto-antibody patterns tied to a given disease state. According to the company, its expression libraries contain more than 10,000 human proteins.

In addition to the NMI deal, Protagen has a number of other ongoing protein biomarker efforts, including collaborations with pharma firm SuppreMol on lupus biomarkers (PM 11/5/2011), and with Biogen Idec on biomarkers to aid in multiple sclerosis drug development (PM 4/1/2011).

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