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Tools for Therapeutics

Nov. 13, 2007 | Genetix is a U.K.-based company producing HCA systems that can help streamline the drug development process, particularly in the area of biotherapeutic proteins. Genetix’s cell-based platforms can be applied anywhere from target discovery through to clinical diagnosis. 

“Our systems for cell-based analysis are based on biology, imaging, software, and automation,” explains scientific director Julian Burke. He terms biotherapeutic proteins one of the fastest-growing areas within biopharma, particularly in cancer and inflammatory disease.

“We focus on providing systems for identifying cell-surface proteins that may be potential targets for antibodies or other therapeutic proteins,” says Burke. “Ariol is a high-throughput automated microscope slide based image-analysis system for the quantification of biomarkers, which allows researchers to examine the differences between diseased and non-diseased cells.” When a researcher compares a protein in a diseased tissue section or cell to a control, the corresponding areas of the slides are automatically aligned and presented to the investigator for evaluation.

A new product, ClonePix FL, enhances the identification and isolation of therapeutic protein-producing cells and cell lines, increasing throughput while decreasing time and cost. It allows researchers to identify clonal cell lines producing the appropriate biotherapeutic protein (such as a monoclonal antibody) in a matter of days.

“The power of the instrument is to identify and pick the top few percent of clones that will contain the highest-producing cells and rapidly eliminate the 98% of cells that will never be suitable for scale up,” says Burke.

Meanwhile, in the clinic, Ariol is used for disease diagnosis by imaging proteins expressed on cell surfaces such as solid tumors. “Ariol makes the [histopathology] process objective by assigning numerical scores to a pathological section,” says Burke. The system can subdivide patient populations “according to those who are likely to respond to a particular drug and those who will not,” says Burke.

Burke says Genetix’ systems form a key part of many organizations’ workflows for the identification of cell lines and therapeutic monoclonal antibodies. Customers include Centocor, Genentech, and Wyeth, as well as academic institutions such as Sloan Kettering .  — Laurie Sullivan

 Laurie Sullivan is the editor of CHI’s PharmaWeek.

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