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Apr 01, 2013
 |  BioCentury  |  Product Development

Producing provocative proteins

Tetragenetics to produce complex immunogenic proteins with Amgen, Pfizer

Tetragenetics Inc. has been keeping a low profile with partnerships for its protein expression and manufacturing platform, but this week was set to unveil deals with Amgen Inc. and Pfizer Inc. to produce proteins for antibody screens that would be difficult to make in standard expression systems.

The company also is releasing further details of its work under a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Grand Challenges Explorations initiative to use discoveries from the same platform to produce antigens for vaccines.

Under its deal with Amgen, Tetragenetics is using its TetraExpress Tetrahymena thermophila-based technology to express an undisclosed surface antigen selected by Amgen. The partners then will jointly develop antibodies against the target.

In its deal with Pfizer, Tetragenetics will use TetraExpress and its SionX technologies to express an undisclosed ion channel selected by Pfizer for antibody development. The pharma has an option for an exclusive license to the resulting immunogen preparations.

Details of the deals are not disclosed.

The TetraExpress platform of promoters, vectors and cell lines can achieve up to 18,000 foreign gene copies per cell. SionX is used specifically for ion channel expression.

"People are turning to us to generate the proteins they have not been able to produce in other systems," said Tetragenetics Chairman Doug Kahn.

Immunogenic membrane proteins are difficult to produce in bacterial expression...

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