Calixar, Synthelis to provide unique membrane protein services

Friday, July 6, 2012 01:51 PM

Calixar, a French company that isolates and crystallizes native and functional membrane proteins, and Synthelis, a French company specializing in the production and vectorization of these same molecules, have entered into an alliance for the production and isolation of all types of target membrane proteins.

Membrane proteins account for over 70% of current therapeutic targets. However, there are fewer than 10 companies specializing in this field around the world and, according to Calixar and Synthelis, none offers such a comprehensive and innovative range of services as their new alliance does.

The collaboration will provide services such as development of antibodies to the discovery of new drugs, including the determination of the structure of these targets and vaccine formulations. Instead of trying to produce these proteins themselves, users will be given access to state-of-the-art production and purification technologies, enabling them to concentrate on their core activities. Furthermore, they will be assured of obtaining targets in their native conformation, thus guaranteeing the success of their programs for developing new drugs, vaccines and therapeutic antibodies.

“We have been undertaking joint R&D programs since the end of 2011, which has confirmed that our two companies have very complementary expertise,” said Emmanuel Dejean, president and co-founder of Calixar. “We now want our customers to benefit from this critical mass of know-how and technology, which no other company currently offers in Europe.”

Synthelis will utilize its molecular biology know-how, deployed in multi-expression-systems and functional characterization configuration, to underpin the production phase. Calixar will be responsible for the possible upstream identification and subsequent isolation, purification, stabilization and crystallization of targeted membrane proteins.

Calixar’s technology has already been validated in some 20 targets (including GPCR receptors, ionic channels, transporters and viral proteins) and its approach makes it possible to preserve the native conformation of membrane proteins in solution after their extraction and purification from any biological system. Synthelis has validated its technology on more than 50 membrane targets. The production processes it has developed are also known to avoid the denaturization of membrane proteins while ensuring they have a high level of expression and activity. Moreover, Synthelis can produce large quantities (several mg) in two to three months, whereas traditional processes take up to a year.

“Through this alliance, the two companies are strengthening every aspect of their business, not only their commercial clout, technical expertise and visibility but also their ability to innovate in their quest to find answers to complex sets of problems with great potential,” said Bruno Tillier, president and co-founder of Synthelis. “This partnership also has an impact on the research structure in the Lyon-Grenoble area as the two companies are based in the region.”

The pair plan on undertaking joint marketing campaigns to promote their product offer. They also aim to get themselves known in North America and Asia.

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