By Matthew Willett

Protein chip producers Phylos Inc. completed a $25.1 million financing round led by Three Arch Partners and The Sprout Group.

The proteomics company based in Lexington, Mass., is positioned to partner its protein chips, tools for target identification and drug monitoring, and plans to expand into drug development.

Phylos CEO Gustav Christensen said the company's proteomics expertise can be parlayed into revenue production from a variety of fronts.

"The protein chips and protein profiling have many usages," Christensen told BioWorld Today. "What we can do is see that a protein is in fact present and whether it's elevated or depressed for target identification. Another important use can be in drug monitoring, an area where, for instance, if you identify a protein that gets elevated or depressed in treated vs. untreated tissue, that can allow you to study the effect of the drug and also be looking to identify and better understand the drug's side effects."

He said the financing will fund the commercialization efforts for the protein chips. Phylos is currently seeking a commercialization partner.

Beyond chips, however, Christensen said Phylos' technology will allow for revenue opportunities from other directions.

"Our technology, we call it protein evolution core technology, allows us to make more protein binders on a larger scale than anyone else, more binders at a lower cost than anyone else, and next year we'll be making thousands," he said. "That allows you to study and understand a number of proteins we've never been able to identify before that are important in research as well as in drug development."

Those protein binders, he added, can find usage in diagnostics or as reagents, two markets the company plans to enter.

Financially, he said, the company is well placed. "We've just raised $25 million, and that's about what we have. Research and development revenues were $7 million in 2000, and we expect to have signed a couple of partnerships to increase that number from $7 million to more than $10 million in 2001," Christensen said.

After the financing Phylos is about one-third owned by new investors, and the remainder of the company is in insider hands. The Sprout Group, of Menlo Park, Calif., is the largest institutional investor for Phylos.