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Protagen to ID Protein Biomarkers in Support of Biogen's MS Drug Development Work


This story originally ran on March 30.

German biotech firm Protagen said this week it will use its UNIarray protein array platform to discover biomarkers in support of Biogen Idec's efforts to develop therapies for multiple sclerosis.

The company will use the platform to retrospectively analyze samples from a clinical trial in hopes of finding predictive and response protein biomarkers for relapsing/remitting multiple sclerosis.

The UNIarray 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 Protagen, its expression libraries contain more than 10,000 human proteins.

In September the company closed a €10 million ($12.7 million) private financing round, which it said it planned to use to fund expansion of its diagnostics business and clinical validation of several proprietary protein biomarkers (PM 09/10/2010). In particular, it said it would focus on developing serum-based protein biomarker tests for the early detection of multiple sclerosis.

At the time Protagen CEO Stefan Muller said the "new financing round will allow us the completion of our current development programs until market launch and to evolve to a preferred partner for out-licensing opportunities within the diagnostic industry."

Financial and other terms of the Biogen Idec agreement were not disclosed.

The Scan

Interfering With Invasive Mussels

The Chicago Tribune reports that researchers are studying whether RNA interference- or CRISPR-based approaches can combat invasive freshwater mussels.

Participation Analysis

A new study finds that women tend to participate less at scientific meetings but that some changes can lead to increased involvement, the Guardian reports.

Right Whales' Decline

A research study plans to use genetic analysis to gain insight into population decline among North American right whales, according to CBC.

Science Papers Tie Rare Mutations to Short Stature, Immunodeficiency; Present Single-Cell Transcriptomics Map

In Science this week: pair of mutations in one gene uncovered in brothers with short stature and immunodeficiency, and more.