SYDNEY, Australia ¿ After receiving a number of lucrative offers to work in America, a group of scientists from Macquarie University, in Sydney, who have been working in the new area of proteome analysis, decided to set up shop on their own.

The group of a dozen scientists, previously associated with the Australian Proteome Analysis Facility at the University, have set up Proteome Systems Ltd. (PSL), near Macquarie, as an alternative to moving to America.

Initial cash flow is coming from a contract with Dow AgroSciences, of Indianapolis, to work on plant cells.

Spurned American Money Offers

PSL principal Keith Williams said that the scientists had set up the company to avoid going to America and becoming part of the ¿brain drain¿ from Australia, as they were all getting offers of two or three times their university salaries from American organizations. In Australia, a full professor may earn about A$100,000 (US$63,000).

¿We joked that, if you could spell, you were worth US$100,000,¿ Williams said.

Proteome analysis involves completely analyzing all the proteins in a cell, using electrophoresis techniques similar to those used in DNA typing. But, instead of a pattern of bands, proteomic analysis produces a galaxy of dots on a film. Each dot is then analyzed. The whole process is completed for healthy and diseased cells, and the results compared.

Williams declined to specify the size of the contract with Dow, saying Dow wished to keep the matter confidential. ¿ Mark Lawson