BioWorld International Correspondent

Sidec Technologies AB, a Swedish firm that has developed a novel, high-resolution protein visualization technology, raised SEK10 million (US$1.3 million) in a second funding round.

The new cash injection, CEO Gösta Sjöholm told BioWorld International, should be sufficient to take the company to break-even about a year from now. It had previously raised SEK20 million.

Stockholm-based Sidec was spun out of Sweden's Karolinksa Institute in 2000 to commercialize an electron tomography methodology developed by Ulf Skogland of the institute's department of cell and molecular biology. It is based on the application of a sophisticated mathematical analysis to 2-D tomography datasets in order to build up an accurate 3-D image of the object under investigation. The approach is encapsulated in what the company calls the Constrained Maximum Entropy Tomography (COMET) algorithm, which it has implemented in a software toolset.

According to the company, it offers 2 nm resolution of proteins in their native contexts. "If you need atomic resolution, we cannot provide that," Sjöholm said. "We can provide the structure of a protein in its natural state, in tissue or in solution." The technology can be applied to numerous analytical problems, including the study of binding domains, subunit assembly, macromolecular interactions and conformation changes arising under different conditions.

"This kind of technology is not used today by the drug companies," Sjöholm said. Sidec is positioning it as a technology to enable drug discovery and development firms to save time and money, while accelerating the decision-making process, particularly during target selection and lead optimization.

The company has so far secured 10 deals, Sjöholm said, including evaluation contracts with Swedish biotechnology companies Biovitrum AB, of Stockholm; BioInvent International AB, of Lund; and Amersham Biosciences AB, of Uppsala; plus a collaboration with UK firm Procognia Ltd., of Maidenhead, to determine glycoslyation sites on intact proteins. Several U.S. research institutes also have deployed the technology, he said.

The company's business model is based on a combination of fee-for-service and OEM deals. It is also interested in taking a royalty position in certain situations.