BioWorld International Correspondent

PARIS - BioSystems International signed a license agreement with Northeastern University in Boston, granting BioSystems exclusive, worldwide rights for the latter’s monoclonal antibody-based biomarker discovery and development platform.

BioSystems International (BSI), which is based at the Genopole biotechnology science and business part at Evry, is specialized in the discovery and validation of disease-specific biomarkers, both through in-house research programs and collaborations with biopharmaceutical and diagnostics companies and academic institutions.

The monoclonal antibody-based biomarker discovery and validation platform being licensed by BioSystems was developed jointly by scientists at Pfizer Fresnes Laboratories, a unit of Pfizer Inc., of New York, and Northeastern University. Pfizer retains rights to use the technology for its programs, while all other rights have been transferred to Northeastern University.

BSI now has acquired a license to use the platform for biomarker and drug target discovery, validation, development and commercialization in medical and all other commercial fields, including veterinary, agricultural, food industry and biohazard applications. The terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

BSI said the technology gives it an opportunity to discover and validate trace-level, disease-specific biomarkers, and President and CEO Laszlo Takacs said it will use the platform in particular to discover novel diagnostics in cancer and chronic diseases.

BSI’s objective is to establish a new standard in the research and discovery of biomarkers for the development of therapeutics and diagnostics. Its technology platform, which incorporates immunology, proteomics, genomics, separation science, micro/nanoscale analysis and bioinformatics, permits the identification of disease- or pathology-specific biomarkers.

Biosystems International was founded in May 2004 and closed an initial funding round in February 2005, in which it raised €3 million (US$3.6 million) from two funds managed by Paris-based Société Générale Asset Management (SGAM), the venture capital subsidiary of the French bank Société Générale.

The company’s strategy is to generate short-term cash through fee-for-service activities on behalf of biopharmaceutical companies, and to develop and market diagnostic tests in the medium to long term either on its own account or in partnership with diagnostics companies. The company said it is in late-stage contractual negotiations with several international pharmaceutical companies.

It expects fee-for-service contracts to start generating revenues in 2006, although the company is planning a second funding round in early 2007.

In addition to its research laboratory in Evry, BSI has a second at the University of Debrecen in Hungary, where it is engaged in a joint research program that is being funded by a €500,000 research grant from the Hungarian Research Ministry.