BioWorld International Correspondent

LONDON - Proteome Sciences plc is setting up a proteomics research facility at the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College, London, and will collaborate with the institute to apply proteomics to the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.

Financial Director James Malthouse told BioWorld International, "This is the best place for such a facility. The Institute of Psychiatry [IoP] is a leader in neurodegenerative diseases. This gives us access to samples and a strong position in this area of research, and enhances our ability to bring in external partners."

The neurodegenerative diseases group at IoP specializes in Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and motor neuron diseases. It is working to improve diagnostic accuracy, discover new treatments and improve existing care of patients with these conditions.

The facility will be fully funded by Proteome Sciences, and initially will have six employees. The aim is to combine Proteome Sciences' skills in protein separation, identification and characterization with IoP's expertise in disease mechanisms. The first two recruits to the new facility are Michael Dunn, chair of the British Electrophoresis Society, who will head the protein separation team, and Malcolm Ward, formerly of GlaxoSmithKline, who leads the mass spectrometry and sequencing team.

The terms of the collaboration were not disclosed but Malthouse said the primary commercialization benefits would come to Proteome Sciences, based in Cobham, Surrey. IoP's rights will vary according to where projects originated.

Malthouse said the facility would be one of the most advanced proteomics research centers in Europe, allowing Proteome Sciences to attract corporate partners.

Brian Anderton, chairman of the Neurodegenerative Diseases Group at the IoP, said the field is at a stage where it will "benefit enormously" from the application of proteomics. The facility will provide the IoP with access to the necessary protein separation and mass spectrometry resources.

Proteome Sciences is listed on London's Alternative Investment Market. The company had £4.3 million cash in June 2000, which it said was enough to last until 2003. It currently has diagnostics for stroke and Cruzfeldt-Jacob's disease nearing commercialization.

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