WALTHAM, Mass.—PerkinElmer Inc., which already considers itself a global technology leader in health sciences and photonics, recently bolstered both areas by signing a worldwide licensing agreement with Axxam SpA, a Milan, Italy-based company focused on early-stage discovery research and services for the life science industry. Under this deal, PerkinElmer will become the exclusive provider of Axxam's Photina photoprotein technology to the drug discovery market. Axxam retains the rights to use the technology for discovery services it provides to third parties.
The agreement also calls for a formal research and development program between the two companies to develop additional Photina G-protein coupled receptor (GCPR) and ion channel cell lines for use in high-throughput screening and compound profiling.
The Photina technology is a luminescent cell-based assay platform optimized for screening important drug discovery targets, including GPCRs and ion channels. Robert F. Friel, president of PerkinElmer Life and Analytical Sciences, says the technology complements PerkinElmer's existing assay development platforms, including the EnVision Cell Station, VICTOR Light, MicroBeta JET and LumiLux products. The timing of the deal is particularly good given that PerkinElmer in April released its new 1536 Head LumiLux Cellular Screening Platform for high-throughput screening and ultra high-throughput screening kinetic flash and glow luminescent cellular assays.
Not only is that new product complemented by Photina, it also is optimized for PerkinElmer's recently-acquired AequoScreen luminescent reagent technology for GPCR analysis.
That double-play points up the company's assertion that the Axxam deal is a strategic move that builds upon PerkinElmer's recent acquisition of Euroscreen Products and its AequoScreen aequorin-based cellular assay platform.
The combination of the AequoScreen and Photina technologies will allow PerkinElmer to provide customers with a total solution for flash luminescence instrumentation and reagents, Friel says, and both platforms are based on a proven luminescence technology that generates higher quality data than do other technologies now in use.
"Flash luminescence provides a highly sensitive tool for assaying the very important GPCR target class without the artifacts or false positives normally associated with fluorescent detection [in GPCR and ion channel screening], providing more physiologically relevant data," notes Mary Duseau, vice president of detection and analysis systems for PerkinElmer Life and Analytical Sciences
"This agreement strengthens our position as a leading supplier of GPCR screening solutions and continues our efforts to build the most comprehensive offering in cellular screening and drug discovery reagent technologies," Friel says. "The addition of the Photina platform enables PerkinElmer to support our biopharmaceutical customers with a comprehensive solution for luminescence screening technology as they transition from traditional fluorescence assay platforms to more efficient, cost-effective luminescence platforms."
PerkinElmer officials predict that more than half of all high-throughput screening laboratories will move from traditional kinetic fluorescence assays to flash luminescence technologies within two years.