Sweden’s Denator preserves protein samples

03 Jul 2006 | News | Update from University of Warwick
These updates are republished press releases and communications from members of the Science|Business Network
Swedish spin-out Denator Biotechnology is raising money to fund development of its technology that analyses protein samples without adulterating them with added reagents.

Denator Biotechnology, a spin-out from Chalmers School of Entrepreneurship, Uppsala University and Karolinska Institutet, has come up with a way of analysing protein samples without adulterating them by adding any reagents. It claims the method is sensitive enough for use in diagnosing diseases through blood biomarkers.

The Swedish company is gearing up for a fund raising of €1 million to €2 million to commercialise the technique and is also considering possible out licensing of the technology.

“It is a physical method that does not add anything to the sample, which is unique,” explained Olof Sköld, Business Development Manager at Denator. “The conservation process our technique is based on was discovered and first utilised in the area of neuropeptides, but it is actually applicable to all samples containing proteins and peptides.”

Denator says its technology preserve samples after a specimen is taken, ensuring it is of suitable quality for later analysis. The company has devised a method for assessing the quality of stored samples also.

There are approximately 25,000 human genes, and the number of proteins they code for is believed to be more than 1 million. Proteins usually exist in several modified forms, and can be changed during different disease processes. When taking a specimen, and also when storing biological samples, proteins and modified proteins can rapidly be destroyed and thereby lead to false test results.

Furthermore, there is no standardised method for handling protein samples. The problem is not to conserve peptides, but to prevent larger proteins from degrading into fragments which mask the peptides.

Denator claims its technology could be used in screening for blood for biomarkers for cancer and other diseases. In normal circumstances, once a blood sample is taken, the proteins it contains begin to degrade. If this ex vivo degradation is not halted, it is likely that most of the differences between samples from people suffering from a disease and healthy samples are degradation products. Degradation products are not reliable as biomarkers since their concentrations are highly dependent on how the sample has been handled.

Denator Biotechnology was formed in January 2005. The technology is based on five years of research at Uppsala University by Per Andrén, Karl Sköld and Marcus Svensson, along with work by Per Svenningsson at Karolinska Institute.

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