Endocube, a French firm set up in 2001, aims to get at the genetic roots of inflammatory processes by investigating previously undescribed enzymes located on the surface of cuboidal cells--endothelial cells that have turned cube-like as a result of chronic inflammation.
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Serono's €104.7 cash offer for France's Genset came just in time for the cash-strapped genomics play, once the star of French biotech. Critics claim Serono's 195% premium for an almost-bankrupt company is nothing short of crazy, but Serono reckons it's spotted an unexploited asset.
CTG Pharma SRL's founders believe that the unique properties of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) hold the key to exciting new anti-inflammatory therapeutics. The Italian start-up plans to tag already-approved compounds with an H2S-releasing molecule. The strategy has several potential advantages: it would create novel chemical entities, it would reduce the risks of drug development, and it could be applied with a variety of drugs.
Patent expiries in Europe on proteins such as EPO and interferon alpha may open up a huge market for cheaper versions of these proteins-one which GeneMedix and others are preparing to tap into. But it's a risky game, since there's still no regulatory process in Europe for approving such products.