Japanese Companies Invest $11M in SomaLogic for Asian Office, Array Collaboration
Two Japanese companies have invested $11 million in SomaLogic, the latter company said this week. Mitsui & Co, an earlier investor in SomaLogic, has invested $10 million in the company, which will support the opening of a joint division of the companies in Asia, while plastics manufacturer Sumitomo Bakelite has invested $1 million, and will collaborate with SomaLogic to develop surfaces for the company’s aptamer microarrays, SomaLogic said.
“The combined investments from Mitsui and Sumitomo Bakelite greatly advance our shared goal of commercializing SomaLogic’s technology and establishing a presence in Asia,” stated Larry Gold, SomaLogic’s chairman of the board, chief scientific officer and the inventor of aptamers. “As strong regional partners they will help us build the relationships critical to success in this region,” he said.
SomaLogic, of Boulder, Colo., is developing protein microarrays using aptamers.
Gyros Closes Third Round of Funding
Gyros announced this week that it has taken in SEK145 million ($19.9 million) in third found VC funding. Scandanavian Life Science Venture led the round, which also included Investor Growth Capital, Schroder Ventures Life Sciences, 3i, Ettena Forvaltnings, Swedish Industrial Development Fund, InnovationsKapital, Health & Brand Capital and Life Equity.
Gyros, based in Uppsala Science Park, Sweden, makes sample prep products for MALDI mass spec, among other products.
The company also said this week that it is extending a collaboration with George Washington University for evaluation of its Bioaffy protein quantitation technology.
Under the collaboration, Benjamin Dickens, an associate research professor at George Washington University will expand his studies on the Bioaffy system from mouse to human samples. The system, which comprises CD microlaboratories for protein immunoassays, is designed for use of nanoliter-scale samples.
TIGR, U Michigan, Scripps Publish Characterization of the Anthrax Spore Formation Genome, Proteome
The Institute for Genomic Research, the Scripps Research Institute, and the University of Michigan announced this week that it has used functional genomic and proteomic techniques to analyze spore formation of Bacillus anthracis. The findings of the three groups, who are working under a grant from the US Office of Naval Research and the NIH, will be published in the Jan. 1, 2004 issue of the Journal of Bacteriology.
Major findings of the study included: up to one-third of all genes in the anthrax genome are involved in spore production, genes are expressed in five discrete phases over a five-hour time period, and each mature anthrax spore contains about 750 proteins.
TIGR scientists used DNA microarrays to monitor gene expression changes over time during the spore formation process, while scientists at Scripps used proteomics analysis to identify the expressed proteins. The study “clearly demonstrates the benefits of combining genomics and proteomics in a single study,” Scripps post-doc Hongbin Liu said in a statement.
SGX Collaborates with UroGene on Kinase Inhibitor Drugs
Structural Genomix announced this week that it is collaborating with UroGene of Evry, France for the discovery and clinical development of drugs for urological cancers. The companies will use SGX’ FAST lead discovery technology to look for small molecule inhibitors against urological cancer kinase targets. UroGene will provide the target validation and clinical studies capabilities. Under the terms of the agreement, SGX will have exclusive commercialization rights for any resultant drug products in North America, while UroGene will have exclusive rights in Europe.
Advion Bags $9M Deal with Unnamed Big Pharma
Advion BioSciences announced this week that it has signed a $9 million, three-year contract with what the company called an unnamed top-ten pharma company.
Advion will provide scientists and instrumentation to assist in the pharma’s bioanalytical method development, method validation, and sample analysis programs.
CuraGen Publishes Method for Prioritizing Drug Targets in Nature Biotech
CuraGen of New Haven, Conn. this week published a method, in the Dec. 15 issue of Nature Biotechnology, that assigns confidence to newly discovered pathways and novel drug targets by combing information from the most common forms of proteomic, genomic, and genetic data, including protein-protein interaction studies.
The method uses bioinformatics and statistics to assign the confidence levels.
LSBC To Commercialize Competing Pattern-Based Cancer Diagnostic Platform
Large Scale Biology announced this week that it will commercialize its own version of a pattern recognition discovery software platform for use in interpreting pattern-based mass spec data such as that collected for ovarian cancer by Emanuel Petricoin and Lance Liotta at the NCI-FDA Clinical Proteomics Program.
The platform, called BAMF, can use noise suppression, pre-processing, and feature identification by a proprietary algorithm to identify biomarkers for a variety of cancers, according to the company. LSBC will commercialize BAMF through a wholly-owned subsidiary called Eclipse Diagnostics. John Rakistan, a spokesperson for Eclipse, told ProteoMonitor that the system could also be applied to drug discovery, finding additional proteins for immunoassays, and drug toxicology studies. Rakistan said that LSBC would “hit the deck running in Q1 of 2004” to commercialize the platform as quickly as possible.
Correlogic Systems of Bethesda, Md. has already licensed a similar pattern test algorithm to Quest Diagnostics and Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings for homebrew use. Rakistan acknowledged that Correlogic was a competitor, but said that “we think we have a competitively better mousetrap … we have the capability to find markers we think they won't be able to find.”