The ‘Scout’ rounds up some business

Kinaxo secures deals with Roche, Bayer Vital and Janssen in October around its novel phosphoproteomics platform, PhosphoScout

Jeffrey Bouley
MARTINSRIED, Germany—The PhosphoScout phosphoproteomicstechnology of Kinaxo Biotechnologies GmbH seems to be picking up steam of late,with three major announcements related to the technology in October—two of themnew deals with Roche and Bayer Vital, and a third a renewal of an agreementwith Janssen Pharmaceutica NV.
 

The Roche news broke on Oct. 21, with an announcement thatKinaxo has entered into a collaboration with Roche Diagnostics GmbH inPenzberg, Germany, under which PhosphoScout will be applied to support theidentification of undisclosed biomarkers related to new therapeuticantibody-based treatment approaches being developed by Roche.

 

Although details of the biomarkers and the therapeuticantibodies to which they are linked were not specified, they do seem to beoncology-related, with Kinaxo's CEO, Dr. Klaus Godl, pointing out the value ofPhosphoScout to Roche by noting: "Cellular signal transmission in eukaryoticcells is mainly regulated by the reversible phosphorylation of proteins.Therefore, differential analysis of the complete cellular phosphoproteome upondrug treatment provides highly informative insights into the modes of action oftargeted cancer drugs."

 

Six days earlier, Kinaxo had announced a collaboration withLeverkusen, Germany-based Bayer Vital GmbH to employ PhosphoScout in theidentification of novel biomarkers in a clinical trial conducted by BayerVital. That trial is for the multi-kinase inhibitor Nexavar in acute myeloidleukemia (AML). The drug is already approved for the treatment ofhepatocellular and renal cell carcinoma and reportedly shows promising effectsin several other indications, including AML, which is the most common leukemiain adults.

 

Kinaxo is being tapped to use its phosphoproteomicstechnology to reveal the drug's influence on cellular phosphorylation patternsand to search for novel predictive biomarkers.

 

Kinaxo and Bayer Vital note that therapeutic outcomes in AMLtherapy have improved only modestly over the past decades and outcomes remaindismal overall. In addition to using PhosphoScout to perhaps discoverpredictive biomarkers that can help predict likely therapeutic outcomes inpatients, Kinaxo's quantitative phosphoproteomics powers will be applied toinvestigate the molecular efficiency of potential combination therapies inwhich Nexavar will be administered together with other targeted drugs toeffectively fight cancer.

 

"New treatment options, such as Nexavar, are responsible forthe progress which has been achieved in recent years in the fight againstcancer. Yet we still have a long way to go until a truly personalized medicine,based on validated biomarkers, will become a reality," admits Dr. ErichEnghofer, head of Bayer Vital's oncology business unit. "That is the reason whywe need to further investigate new diagnostic and treatment approaches."

 

Coming at nearly the end of October was the additional newsof Kinaxo's deal with Ortho Biotech Oncology Research & Development, adivision of Janssen Pharmaceutica in Beerse, Belgium, to extend an agreementunder which Kinaxo is applying both its phosphoproteomics services and itsadvanced chemical proteomics services to perform comprehensive cellularmode-of-action analyses of some oncology therapies under development byJanssen's Ortho Biotech division.

 

The clustering of these three deals stands out a bit, giventhat the last two major news releases from Kinaxo on its phosphoproteomicsplatform were in February of this year and in October of last year.

 

The Feb. 24, 2009, news was of the awarding of a grant bythe Bavarian Research Foundation to employ Kinaxo's quantitativephosphoproteomics platform in a study to develop new methods for individualizedtumor therapy in pancreatic cancer. As part of that large-scale drug efficiencystudy, Kinaxo joined an interdisciplinary collaboration with Priaxon AG,Genomatix Software GmbH, the Technical University Munich and the UniversityHospital Rechts der Isar.

 

The October 2008 deal involved the launch of a two-year collaborationwith Boehringer Ingelheim in which Kinaxo will apply both its Cellular TargetProfiling platform and its phosphoproteomics platform for unspecified studieson drug mode of action and target identification.

 

Kinaxo's Godl says that PhosphoScout's power lies largely inits use of quantitative mass spectrometry as an "elegant, unbiased way tocomprehensively analyze proteome-wide in vivo phosphorylation patterns."PhosphoScout doesn't require phospho-specific antibodies but instead analyzesthe phosphoproteome by measuring the relative quantity of more than 15,000phosphorylation sites.

 

This is important, he points out, because phospho-specificantibodies are available for only a "minor fraction" of the phosphorylationsites described thus far—and while an estimated one-third of all cellularproteins are thought to be reversibly phosphorylated at some point, researchershave as yet only identified a small subset of in vivo phosphorylation sites at all. As such,comprehensive, detailed analysis of global cellular phosphorylation patternsbased on antibody-dependent approaches is "nearly impossible" according toKinaxo.

 

 

Roche and High Throughput Genomics partner for advanced geneexpression analysis solution

 

MADISON, Wis.—Roche NimbleGen announced in November that ithas entered into a supply agreement with High Throughput Genomics Inc. (HTG),provider of the quantitative Nuclease Protection Assay (qNPA). Under theagreement, Roche NimbleGen will provide HTG with high-density, multiplex DNAmicroarray slides for advanced gene expression analysis.

 

HTG will apply the company's quantitative nucleaseprotection assay (qNPA) process to the microarrays to enable researchers toquickly and efficiently measure the gene expression levels in a variety ofsample types. The agreement enhances HTG's existing service capability offeringwith the ability to take a broader look at gene expression through themultiplex capability of the Roche NimbleGen microarrays. Sample preparationusing qNPA technology allows for a much simpler, more cost-effective workflowversus traditional labeling methods, while the Roche NimbleGen multiplextechnology offers a cost-effective high-density microarray providing in depthgene expression information.

 

"HTG's agreement with Roche NimbleGen affords us theopportunity to provide our customers with customizable content and anattractive sample preparation and processing format. Compared with othervendors, Roche NimbleGen was able to offer us unique and differentiated arraysynthesis and formatting capabilities that best meet our client needs," saysT.J. Johnson, president and CEO of HTG. "The combination of low-cost,flexibility, and high-throughput means HTG's customers can derive substantialbenefits quickly and we can increase the plex in the analysis process asneeded."

 

Jeffrey Bouley

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