BioWorld International Correspondent

LONDON - Procognia Ltd. acquired privately held Sense Proteomic Ltd. and closed another round of financing, raising $4 million from existing shareholders Apax Partners, Evergreen Partners and Vitalife.

In April the company was formed from Israel-based Glycodata Ltd., and has raised $18.3 million and moved to Maidenhead, UK, since then. Ron Long, formerly CEO of Amersham Pharmacia Biotech plc, became Procognia's CEO.

Johanna Griffin, chief operating officer, told BioWorld International that the amount paid for Sense Proteomic and whether the deal was done in cash or shares was not being disclosed.

"In acquiring Sense Proteomic, we have brought in new and supporting and complementary technology," he said. "This is putting up our burn rate, and we wanted - and the venture capitalists supported - another round."

Procognia has developed methods of analyzing the glycosylation patterns of sugar chains surrounding proteins. The sugar chains modify the biological properties of proteins and their analysis is a critical process in discovery, development and manufacturing of protein drugs, including monoclonal antibodies, growth factors and cytokines.

The acquisition of Sense Proteomic, of Cambridge, brings a capability in functional protein arrays to Procognia. Jonathan Blackburn, the scientific founder of Sense Proteomic, will become chief scientist of Procognia, while Sense Proteomic's CEO, Roland Kozlowski, is expected to take some of the company's technology into a new start-up.

Procognia is working with four pharmaceutical companies to confirm its results are consistent with those obtained using conventional technology. It then expects to launch its first product, "u c fingerprint," later this year.

"We are pretty confident the four partners will buy it," Griffin said. "There is nothing comparable to our technology; it can generate information no other technology can."

She added, "Because of the way sugar chains can modify the biological properties of protein drugs, we expect regulatory agencies to demand this sort of data."

Griffin could not say how long Procognia expects the current funding to last.

"We expect to offset the burn with revenue," she said. "We won't be profitable right away, but don't expect to need more venture capital."