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Protagen Using UNIarray Platform to ID Biomarkers for Use in Lupus Drug Development


Diagnostics company Protagen and biopharmaceutical firm SuppreMol announced a collaboration this week to identify therapy-related biomarkers in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus.

According to a statement from SuppreMol CEO Peter Buckel, the company plans to use Protagen's UNIarray technology to identify autoantibody signatures of SLE patients enrolled in a phase IIa study of its lead therapeutic SM101.

"With these signatures we aim to identify patients who are most likely to respond favorably to SM101," Buckel said. "In addition, our findings may allow the classification of patients in subgroups as SLE is a disease with very diverse manifestations."

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 SuppreMol deal, Protagen has also inked agreements for biomarker research over the last year with Biogen Idec (PM 04/01/11), Mikrogen (PM 07/09/2010), and Bayer Schering (PM 06/11/2010).

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.