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Proteome Systems, Iberica, PENCE, Astex Technology, Cambridge Antibody Technology, GeneProt, Large Scale Biology


Proteome Systems and Iberica to Collaborate on Osteoarthritis

Proteome Systems of Sydney and Iberica, a Japanese clinical research consulting firm, said last week that they were going to collaborate to analyze proteoglycan changes associated with the progression and treatment of osteoarthritis.

The project is part of an ongoing collaboration between the Iberica-Kurume Translational Research Center in Kurume, Japan, and the department of orthopaedics at Kurume University to find biomarkers for the diagnosis and treatment of osteoarthritis.

Proteome Systems will analyze patient samples provided by Iberica-Kurume.


PENCE Awards CA$250K to Seven Canadian SARS Protein Projects

PENCE, the Protein Engineering Network of Centers of Excellence in Edmonton, Canada, has awarded CA$250,000 ($180,300) to seven Canadian projects to study the structure and function of SARS proteins. The funding goes to Cheryl Arrowsmith at the Ontario Cancer Institute at the University of Toronto for high-throughput cloning and expression of SARS proteins, Lindsay Eltis at the University of British Columbia to study the 3CL protease of Urbani coronavirus, Francois Jean at the University of British Columbia for the development and application of a fluorescence cell-based assay for monitoring SARS coronavirus, James Rini at the University of Toronto for the large-scale production of the Spike protein of SARS coronavirus, Nabil Seidah at the Clinical Research Institute of Montreal for studying the processing and structure-function of the Spike glycoprotein E2, Shi-Hsiang Shen at the Biotechnology Research Institute of NRC for the identification of compounds disrupting the crucial protein-protein interactions in SARS infections, and Chris Upton at the University of Victoria for a SARS bioinformatics suite.

Pence is a member of the Networks of Centers of Excellence of Canada, an initiative of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and Industry Canada.


Astex to Open New Facility

Astex Technology is going to open a new facility in Cambridge, UK, on Friday, July 11.

The company uses x-ray crystallography in combination with drug fragment screens to develop drugs against protein targets.


European Medicines Evaluation Agency Gives Thumbs Up for CAT’s Humira

Cambridge Antibody Technology said last month that the European Medicines Evaluation Agency (EMEA) has issued a positive opinion on Humira, an antibody developed by CAT and Abbott Laboratories, for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. This opinion was based on data from four clinical trials.

Abbott Laboratories said that the European Commission is expected to authorize the marketing of Humira in the EU in about three months. Within two weeks of this authorization, pharmacies in Germany and the UK will receive Humira, and CAT expects to obtain royalties on its sales. Furthermore, it anticipates receiving a milestone payment from Abbott related to the approval of Humira outside the US.

Humira will be the first human monoclonal antibody approved in Europe for rheumatoid arthritis.


GeneProt Announces Protein License to Novartis

GeneProt announced last month that it has licensed its first protein to Novartis Pharma, as reported earlier by ProteoMonitor (see PM 04-14-03).

The protein came out of the proteomics company’s ongoing research collaboration with Novartis. At the end of 2001, GeneProt, based in Geneva, Switzerland, delivered six proteins to Novartis for further study, one of which the drug company now chose to license.

Bertrand Damour, GeneProt’s president and CEO, told ProteoMonitor in April that the deal resulted in a “significant amount of cash” for the company. “We look forward to further licenses in due course coming out of our collaboration with Novartis and from others,” Damour said in a statement.


LSBC Starts Plant Production of alpha-Galactosidase A

Large Scale Biology said last month that it will evaluate field production of plant-produced human alpha-Galactosidase A this quarter. The protein is a potential treatment for Fabry disease, a lysosomal storage disorder.

In January, the FDA granted LSBC orphan drug designation for the enzyme, which the company plans to develop in a commercial partnership.

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.