Public proteomics: Kinexus launches KiNET proteomics database

Kinexus Bioinformatics Corp. will introduce its subscription-based KiNET database this fall, giving researchers a new online resource for functional proteomics data.

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia—Kinexus Bioinformatics Corp. will introduce its subscription-based KiNET database this fall, giving researchers a new online resource for functional proteomics data.
"The information available in KiNET is unique and greater than 95 percent of this data has not been published in the scientific literature," says Kinexus president and founder Steven Pelech, who is also a neurology professor at the University of British Columbia School of Medicine. Kinexus collected the data over six years from 600 academic and industrial lab clients of its Kinetworks signal transduction protein profiling services.
The beta version of KiNET was released in late August, with a general launch in October. Pelech says cost for a single academic user will be around $1,000, with industrial annual subscription fees linked to the total number of employees in the companies. "We expect this to range from $5,000 to $20,000," he says. Clients whose screening data populate the database will receive discounts, and Pelech expects about 1,000 subscribers within KiNET's first year.
Pelech describes KiNET as "probably the first truly functional proteomics database that will become publicly accessible. It contains quantitative data about the expression levels of proteins, not indirect measurements based on mRNA levels, which are actually unreliable." KiNET also houses information on cell perturbation-induced changes in the phosphorylation states of signaling proteins, the "best measure of the functional states of proteins that is possible," according to Pelech.
Kinexus also recently released six new Kinetworks screens developed in collaboration with Biosource International. With Kinetworks having grown more than 40 percent per year, Pelech says he expects the KiNET database to expand at a similar rate.
Pelech thinks KiNET should be of particular value to pharmaceutical companies that want to understand kinases before they begin developing drugs. "All recognize the importance of kinases," he says, "but they don't actually have information about those kinases."
Pelech points out that while researchers know the human genome encodes at least 518 different kinases, protein kinase inhibitors in about 60 studies target a mere 24 of the same nonproprietary protein kinases. Pelech hopes to expand that field with KiNET, which will also likely come to include data on the best kinase-inhibiting compounds.
Alan Louie, research director at Life Science Insights in Framingham, Mass., agrees on the importance of investigating the role of kinases as pathway regulators and determining "whether they will be a major mechanism associated with diseases like cancer." KiNET could provide utility in establishing relevance for certain types of model systems, he says.
Pelech hopes KiNET will become part of a paradigm shift toward systems biology, with the comparatively inexpensive KiNET playing a role in an expensive field. Another move that will expand the data pool and lower prices, he says, is the development of antibody microarray services that "will reduce the cost of analysis of protein expression and phosphorylation by more than tenfold for clients. This should markedly increase the rate of data accumulation into KiNET in 2006."

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