Charles Cohen, president, CEO and a founder
Cellzome GmbH focuses on functional proteomics, the selective retrieval and characterization of protein complexes, and mapping protein interactions for therapeutic target discovery, validation and drug development. The company was formed in May 2000 in partnership with the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg. Its offices are located on the EMBL campus.
The developed protein interaction and pathway maps obtained under varying experimental conditions is expected to describe the molecular context for identified targets and provide the basis for target and lead validation. Cellzome believes that this approach will enable better understanding of the mode of action of existing and potential drugs, creating the opportunity to develop second-generation drugs with higher efficacy, specificity and safety profiles.
Technology utilized in its operations includes the proprietary Tandem Affinity Purification (TAP) technology for high-throughput purification of multiprotein assemblies, mass spectrometry and its Bioinformatics and Computational Biology platform.
In September 2001, Cellzome acquired GlaxoSmithKline plc’s Cell Map unit, which focuses on mapping protein-protein interactions in the cell to enable drug target discovery and validation in neurobiology, including neuropsychiatric disorders, chronic degenerative diseases, pain and learning and memory disorders.
This alliance combines Cellzome’s large-scale functional proteomics with CellMap’s biological and pharmaceutical focus to develop mode-of-action-based drugs, and will support Cellzome’s efforts as it moves toward product development and commercialization. GlaxoSmithKline will become a minority shareholder of Cellzome. Other financial terms were not disclosed.
Cellzome’s newly acquired facilities will be located close to Mill Hill and the Medical Research Council (MRC) in north London. It will have access to Cell Map’s existing collaborations with academic investigators, primarily in the UK, focused on neurological applications of the technology. Cellzome’s headquarters will remain in Heidelberg on the EMBL campus.
In February 2001 Cellzome closed its second round of private financing for proceeds of $31 million. The company will use the funding to expand its research and development program and to increase the throughput of its technology platform. This funding is expected to last Cellzome about two years, the company said.
The self-managed financing was led by Index Ventures, of Geneva, Switzerland. Including this second round the company has raised a total of $39 million since its founding. Second-round investors included Sofinnova Ventures, of Paris, Schroders Investment Management Ltd., of London, and existing investors Atlas Ventures, of Boston; Advent International, of Boston; and Heidelberg Innovation BioScience Venture, of Heidelberg.