Miles enthusiastic about prospects for protein programs

In a time of increasing pharma company austerity, Miles Inc. has signalled a vote of confidence in biotechnology, setting up an operating unit that will focus on discovering new proteins and novel ways to deliver them.

The unit, which has expertise in the production and expression of recombinant proteins from mammalian cells, also will work on new delivery technologies including gene therapy, cell implantation and stem cells, according to George Scargos, senior vice president of pharmaceutical research and head of the new unit.

"We believe there is significant growth potential in the use of therapeutic proteins," Scargos said. "Not all of the useful proteins have been identified. Gene therapy, which is essentially a sustained release system for proteins, and cell implants will expand the use of recombinant proteins. In a sense, they replace proteins with genes."

Biotech capabilities

Scargos told BioCentury that Miles realized it had developed expertise in the areas of research, production, process development and clinical development that give it the capabilities of a major biotechnology company. The unit will both develop its own products and work with partners.