Geneva Proteomics to use Compaq products and services

Geneva 10 October 2000Geneva Proteomics Inc. (GeneProt), a Geneva based biotechnology company, will choose Compaq Computer Corporation as its exclusive IT partner. The two major research Proteomics factories are located in Geneva, Switzerland, and in the United States. As part of the agreement, GeneProt will use Compaq Global Services, StorageWorks storage systems, and high-end AlphaServer systems and Tru64 UNIX as the operating system. The contract value is expected to exceed $70 million over a period of four years.

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Geneva Proteomics is just establishing the world's first large-scale proteomics research facility in Geneva. The research into proteomics looks at the total protein profile of a cell or tissue at a given time and this can vary during the development of an organism, maturation of cell types and tissues and progression of proteomics.

Edmond H. Fischer, 1992 Nobel Laureate in Medicine, explains Proteomics as follows: " ... all the information stored in our DNA is about to be revealed, but ... this accumulated nucleic acid-based knowledge can only take us so far. The human genome might enable us to predict the proteins that can potentially be generated, but not where and when or at what level. It cannot tell us the cells in which proteins will be expressed or at which stages of development or differentiation this will happen. Nor can it take into account the enormous diversification of structure resulting from alternative splicing, gene insertion, switching by deletions and recombinations ... Gene structure alone tells us little about the physiological function of proteins, since it ignores the co- and post-translational modifications to which they are subjected, such as their processing by limited proteolysis, glycosylation, prenylation, ADP-ribosylations, and reversible phosphorylation."

GeneProt's goal is to become the international leader in proteomics. The company intends to generate and commercialise the proteomic and related biological and medical information, in order to accelerate the understanding of biological processes, and to assist the pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. To achieve this goal, it plans to obtain massive quantities of proteomic data by mass spectrometry analysis of chosen biological fluids and tissues in healthy and sick individuals, enhance the value of the information obtained through bio-informatics, and synthesise small novel proteins and peptides. The term "proteome" refers to the total protein profile of a fluid or a tissue at a given time and can vary during the maturation of cell types and tissues, and the progression or treatment of a disease.

The company has closed an equity financing of $40 million in July this year. The investors participating in the financing included funds and accounts managed by Fidelity Management and Research Company, Merlin BioMed Group, Jennison Associates LLC, Orbimed Advisors LLC, CEH Geneve and Basellandschaftliche Pensionskasse. Now Compaq intends to make an equity investment in Geneva Proteomics. The planned deal will be managed under Compaq's $100 million Genomics Investment Programme, that was unveiled last week. The programme is designed to promote the development of life sciences companies through financial support and access to its high-performance AlphaServer systems, Tru64 UNIX and StorageWorks storage systems for use in genomics, bio-informatics and other related activities.

The GeneProt project in Geneva started in October 2000. The first Proteomics factory is scheduled to be fully operational by the end of March 2001. The United States' research lab will be established in the second half of 2001. GeneProt has selected Compaq as its preferred IT supplier because of its leadership in supplying industry-leading technology products and services to the genomics market. Compaq is very strong in this research section, as all the big research institutes and companies use Alpha technology.


Uwe Harms

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