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Proteomics International Wins $1M Grant to Develop Protein Test for Diabetic Nephropathy

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Proteomics firm Proteomics International said this week that it has received a A$1 million (US$ 1 million) grant from Commercialisation Australia – an initiative of the Australian government – to develop its protein biomarkers for diabetic nephropathy into a companion diagnostic.

The award will fund additional cross-validation of 13 markers the company identified through its work on Australia's Busselton Health Study, managing director Richard Lipscombe told ProteoMonitor. It will also support efforts to move the markers from the mass spec-based platform on which they were discovered to a conventional immunoassay system.

"The expectation of the project will be to [develop] an immunoassay diagnostic and at the same time bring the mass spectrometry-based diagnostic to a point where that is accepted as well," he said. "So we'll be doing work in our facility and with our commercial partners to try to cross-validate the traditional immunoassay approach with the mass spectrometry approach."

The company initially identified the markers using iTRAQ labeling and MALDI TOF/TOF mass spectrometry on an AB Sciex 4800 TOF/TOF instrument and then narrowed down those candidates to the current panel of 13 using selected reaction-monitoring assays developed on an AB Sciex 4000 QTRAP machine (PM 10/8/2010).

Lipscombe said that Proteomics International is also looking "to engage with pharmaceutical companies" with drugs for diabetic nephropathy "and start looking at their drugs using our panel to see ... how our panel recognizes [patient] responses to their drugs."

He noted that ultimately the company hopes to partner with a larger diagnostic firm to take a test to market.

"In terms of our business model our specialty is discovery and early-stage commercialization," he said. "That's where we're focused, and then we expect to work with other companies who have a larger market presence to take the diagnostic into the clinic."