March 7, 2002
AxCell Biosciences Corp.
Michael D. Becker
AxCell to Chart All Protein Pathways in Human Cells
What is the history of your organization’s involvement in life sciences?
Becker: AxCell Biosciences Corporation, a subsidiary of Cytogen Corporation, was incorporated in 1996 to develop a protein pathway database as a drug discovery and development tool for subscribers in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. Because protein signaling pathways play a role in many diseases, referring to a chart of the body’s protein interactions may allow researchers to identify drugs that target pathways related to a specific disease while avoiding pathways associated with unwanted side effects and toxicity.
What is your vision for the development of the life sciences market?
Becker: During the past decade, we have witnessed a tremendous increase in our understanding of how cells communicate with each other to coordinate the growth and maintenance of the multitude of tissues within the human body. A key element of this communication network, and one of AxCell’s major focus areas, is the transmission of a signal from the exterior of a cell to its interior, which results in the activation or suppression of specific genes. This process is called signal transduction and represents a unique business opportunity for AxCell—and represents my vision for the future.
This market is one of almost unlimited potential. In January 2001, AxCell announced that it had completed the first ever map of the protein interactions of the WW domain, the name for one of the estimated 60 to 80 protein families in the human body. This milestone was an important indication that the map of all human protein interactions is possible, and AxCell is planning to chart all of the protein pathways within human cells.
What organizational assets have you developed to serve this community?
Becker: AxCell designed ProChart with our partner, InforMax, Inc., to permit use of the Internet to integrate our information with a customer’s proprietary data and other information, including public genomics data. ProChart is designed to offer customers the opportunity to evaluate many proteins at once by overlaying protein pathway data with other bioinformatic information. Users can visualize and correlate protein pathway data with all sequence, expression, tissue distribution, structural, and bibliographic information that exists for that particular protein and pathway.
What products and services does your company provide to the life sciences market?
Becker: The ProChart database was introduced to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries in March 2001 and made commercially available in June 2001 as part of the latest version of InforMax’s GenoMax™ enterprise bioinformatics platform. Currently, the ProChart database contains a complete map of the known WW protein domains. ProChart also includes protein pathway information from several other domain families, such as PDZ, SH2, and SH3 domains, which relate to several disease areas.
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