Communiqué de presse


The University of Geneva heads for proteomics


At a time when the complete human genome will soon have been sequenced, the University of Geneva is engaged in a new field of research, equally as fascinating as genomics : ie the characterisation of complete patterns of expressed proteins: the proteomics. The University of Geneva has recently signed a collaboration agreement with the multinational company PE Biosystems (NYSE: PEB), a PE Corporation Business. It grants a licence to the company to develop, on the basis of the invention by Prof. Denis Hochstrasser and his team, a protein molecular scanner. Through this agreement, the University will have access to state of the art equipment, which will ensure its leadership in this new field of research.

Life sciences are developing at an increasing pace. Their future will rely in part on the identification of all proteins and the elucidation of their functions. Prof. Denis Hochstrasser and his team, from the central clinical chemistry laboratory of the Department of medical biochemistry, have developed a new technique for the identification of proteins: a molecular scanner. Proteins (from blood, cells, tissues…) are separated in a gel, according to their charges and sizes. An electric field then forces the proteins through a membrane which enzymatically cleaves them into fragments. These fragments are the peptide signature of the proteins. The identification of these protein fragments then relies on mass spectometry and bioinformatics.

Patent applications were filed by the University of Geneva for this molecular scanner. A collaboration agreement was then signed with PE Biosystems, leader in instrumentation and systems for the life sciences. Both have agreed that PE Biosystems will have certain license rights to this intellectual property and the University of Geneva will have privileged access to state of the art technology. This technology will dramatically enhance the research facilities available to Prof. Hochstrasser and other collaborators of Geneva University and hospital. Furthermore, the University of Geneva and PE Biosytems researchers will collaborate towards the improvement of the technology.

This agreement confirms the leading position of the University of Geneva in the fields of proteomics and bioinformatics. Indeed, proteomics relies in large parts on bioinformatics which is indispensable to deal with the enormous amount of data.

For futher information, please contact:
Edward Bloch, PE Biosystems, USA: +1-203-761-5248
Prof.Denis Hochstrasser, University of Geneva, Switzerland: +41-22-372-7355