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Shamrock Structures, Protein Biochip Systems Market, Nonlinear Dynamics, Matrix Science, Caprion, PerkinElmer, Vivascience, Rutgers-Newark

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Shamrock Signs Proteomics Pact with Intra-Cellular Therapies

Shamrock Structures of Woodbridge, Ill., last week signed an agreement to provide integrated structural proteomics services to Intra-Cellular Therapies.

Under the pact, Shamrock will perform structure-activity relationship co-crystallization, synchrotron data collection, and structure determination of an Intra-Cellular Therapies protein target to which inhibitors are bound.

The agreement includes an upfront fee and milestone payments. Additional terms of the deal were not disclosed.

New York-based Intra-Cellular Therapies is a privately held biopharmaceutical firm developing drugs for central nervous system disorders, such as depression, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease.


Protein Biochips Market May Reach $430 Million by 2007

The protein biochip systems market was worth $170 million last year, and may eventually reach $430 million by 2007, the Bioperspectives pharmaceutical consulting company said last week.

Biochip technologies including DNA chip systems and protein chips are seen as the next logical step forward in the research and development of drugs, the report said. Though protein biochips systems are growing quickly, they still lag behind DNA chips systems in the market, which were estimated to be worth $1 billion last year.

It is well known that genomic and proteomic chip technologies have been enormously successful in finding changes in expression between genes and proteins in normal and diseased states.

The report, however, identified protein biochips as a key technology in determining if changes in proteins correlate with disease states and/or treatments.

See Q&A session on page 7 for more details.


Nonlinear Dynamics, Matrix Science Form Proteomics Collaboration

Nonlinear Dynamics last week formed a collaboration with Matrix Science to integrate the companies’ proteomics software products.

According to Nonlinear, its protein informatics system will be enhanced to integrate with Matrix Science’s Mascot mass spectrometry data search engine.

The companies also anticipate the incorporation of a Mascot interface into Nonlinear’s upcoming protein informatics platform.

Financial terms of the arrangement were not disclosed.


Caprion Wins $13.1 Million Biodefense Research Contract

Caprion, a proteomics-based drug-discovery com pany, has been awarded a $13.1 million contract by the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to carry out biodefense research.

Under a five-year contract, the company will study molecular events that enable bacteria to subvert the immune system with the goal of defining new pathways and proteins that can lead to new immunotherapy targets, vaccines, and diagnostic biomarkers.

As an example, the company will employ its quantitative protein profiling technologies to analyze pathogen and host proteins involved in infections by Brucella, a potential bioterrorism agent that currently causes disease in cattle.

Caprion will retain rights to commercialize any diagnostic and therapeutic targets discovered through its research. All proteomic and target validation data will be made publicly available through the Proteomics Research Program Administrative Center.


PerkinElmer, Vivascience to Develop Protein Fractionation Kits

PerkinElmer and Vivascience will create fractionation kits for proteomics-based biomarker analysis, the companies said last week.

Under the agreement, the firms will combine PerkinElmer’s elution chemistries with Vivascience’s membrane adsorber chromatography technology to create the kits.

PerkinElmer said it will then market these biomarker screening reagent kits along with its biomarker screening instruments, which include its Multiprobe II liquid handling workstation and proTOF 2000 MALDI-TOF mass spectrometer.

PerkinElmer also said that Predictive Diagnostics, which recently began using PerkinElmer’s proTOF for its clinical proteomics program, will have early access to the PerkinElmer/Vivascience fractionation kits through the end of the year.

Vivascience, of Hannover, Germany, produces chromatography technology that is rigid, unlike traditional resins and beads, the companies said.

The parties did not disclose the financial terms of the agreement.


Rutgers-Newark Biologist Links Presence of Protein to Spread of Cancerous Cells

Researchers at Rutgers-Newark have identified a new link between a protein called Rho and the way cancer cells divide and spread.

In a paper that appeared in the August 9-13 edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Rutgers-Newark Biology Chair Edward Bonder and his research team revealed that overexpression of Rho protein in certain cells can cause the cells to take on a rounded shape, bud, break off and form new cell colonies distant from the original cell colonies.

The finding could pave the way for the development of more specific approaches to destroy cancerous cells without destroying healthy cells as well, the reserachers said. That kind of development could improve upon current chemotherapy treatments.

Bonder’s reserach team discovered Rho’s properties while attempting to learn more about what regulates the changes of epithelial cells while wounds are healing. After introducing Rho into a culture of cells, some cells budded out and moved lengthy distances away from the original source of the cells.