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12:00 AM
 | 
Oct 01, 2007
 |  BioCentury  |  Strategy

Straw into gold

The acquisition of Adnexus Therapeutics Inc. by Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. is an object lesson in how one company can fail to make the proper use of a foundation technology while another acquires it and in three years turns a $4 million purchase into a $500 million jackpot.

Bristol-Myers is acquiring Adnexus for its Adnectin protein platform, with which the pharma company already has some experience. The companies began collaborating in February: Adnexus was using its PROfusion protein design engine to select and optimize up to six Adnectin compounds to treat cancer. BMY (New York, N.Y.) had exclusive worldwide rights to resulting compounds, and Adnexus (Waltham, Mass.) had co-promotion rights in the U.S. for the first approved product (see BioCentury, Feb. 26).

PROfusion generates trillions of protein variations simultaneously without using cells. The system begins with a library of up to 1014 synthetic mRNA molecules fused to the protein that each mRNA encodes. These molecules are put through iterative rounds of selection and mutation to generate proteins with desired characteristics, such as binding affinity and specificity.

The DNA of the resulting peptide or protein is then amplified using PCR, which provides sufficient genetic information to determine the amino acid sequence of the protein.

Adnectins are targeted proteins derived from fibronectin, a well-characterized human...

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