European grant for ProteoNic and ORYZON

ProteoNic and ORYZON awarded European grant for joint development of cost-effective therapeutic antibodies against prostate cancer.

Leiden, Netherlands/Barcelona, Spain – ProteoNic, the protein production experts, and ORYZON genomics, the biomarker discovery company, have joined forces to develop new antibodies against prostate cancer and generate cost-effective production-ready cell lines. ProteoNic will use its expression expertise and UNic™ toolbox production yield enhancer to optimize the potential of ORYZON’s proprietary targets without compromising antibody quality. By awarding the joint venture a EuroTrans-Bio grant, the EU recognizes the unique combination of skills that will serve an unmet medical need for new prostate cancer diagnostics and treatment.

Prostate cancer is one of the most common male cancers in Europe. With some 300,000 new cases diagnosed and over 85,000 men dying as a result of the disease each year, there is a clear need for a new therapeutic approach. As such, the new innovative venture is focusing on identifying antibodies against prostate cancer-specific markers while validating these markers. ORYZON and ProteoNic are also developing faster and more cost-effective ways of identifying, characterizing and producing therapeutic monoclonal antibodies to combat the disease. The companies expect to select and produce antibodies for preclinical proof-of-concept studies within the next two years.

ProteoNic will apply its award winning UNic™ toolbox to develop a protein expression system using CHO cells that will allow potential candidates to be screened rapidly, including those antibodies that are hindered in their expression and would otherwise be discarded. This means more antibody variants become available for evaluation with reduced time lines. In recent years, the UNic™ technology has already demonstrated enhanced protein yields by a factor 2–10 in mammalian, fungal and yeast production hosts for a range of commercial proteins.

Quote Dr. Tamara Maes, CSO ORYZON Genomics: “In the past years we have run multiple biomarker discovery programs and we have identified many new potential cancer targets. It is still a technological challenge to evaluate the potential of large sets of new targets for antibody based therapy in an efficient and cost-effective manner, especially at the level of functional testing.”

Raymond Verhaert, CSO ProteoNic said: “We have created an ambitious project in which we deploy our UNic™ technology and expertise to maximize the probability of successful screening. This will create the best possible antibody while keeping production costs down for the future.”

ProteoNic, the 2010 Frost & Sullivan Innovative Technology Award winner based in the Netherlands, offers specialized products and services in improving protein expression. As one of the very few companies in the world, ProteoNic provides leading expertise in optimizing the translation of messenger RNA (mRNA). Services include construct design and cloning, transformation, and high-throughput screening of commercial protein production hosts. ProteoNic aims to establish its UNic™ technology as the state-of-the-art, industry standard within protein-based industries. Its activities focus on industry-relevant fungal, yeast, plant and mammalian expression hosts, for which it has developed platform-specific products and services. Its technology leads to significantly higher yields and greater manufacturing flexibility with lower production costs. For more information see 

ORYZON Genomics
ORYZON is a functional genomics company based in Barcelona, Spain. It was launched in 2001 as a spin-off of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and the University of Barcelona, and has an international staff of 70 highly qualified scientists. ORYZON’s primary business focus is to identify biomarkers for serious illnesses such as cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. Another strategic driver is to identify and validate possible new therapeutic targets that could be used as a starting point for further identifying and developing new drugs based especially on either a biological approach such as therapeutic monoclonal antibodies or in fast chemistry programs using our crystallography and fragment screening expertise

ETB Program
The strategic objective of the EUROTRANS-BIO initiative (ETB) is to foster the competitive capacity of Europe’s biotechnology industry by supporting research-intensive SMEs and their strategic trans-national partnerships. The program includes all fields of biotechnology. The program is carried out with the participation of the following EU Countries and Regions: Countries: Austria, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Israel and Netherlands. Regions: Basque Country, Catalonia, Madrid, Navarra (all Spain), Flanders and Wallonia (Belgium).