Cell immortalization has become a fundamental tool for drug researchers seeking to test compounds in animal or human models. But the immortalization process can alter cell physiology, producing cells whose characteristics differ markedly from those of the primary cells from which they were derived. Xcellsyz's solution to that problem is its technology for conditionally immortalizing cells, which it plans to use both as part of a service business and in its internal drug discovery program.
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Formed by Kalamazoo-based Pharmacia alumni, AureoGen Biosciences Inc. is genetically engineering cyclic peptides to create second-generation, resistance-proof anti-infective and anti-fungal therapeutics.
Pain seems as close to a sure bet as the pharmaceutical industry has to offer. Forecasts call for the worldwide analgesic market, already $38 billion in 2002, to grow at a 20% annual clip, nearly doubling to $75 billion by the year 2010. For new drug developers, pain also has the advantage of offering clearly definable endpoints-less pain-and a relatively short duration for clinical trials. No surprise then that more than 200 companies have a hand in developing or marketing pain therapeutics. Among them, the three young companies profiled here-AlgoRx Pharmaceuticals Inc., Algos Therapeutics Inc., and TheraQuest Biosciences LLC.
Ambrx is using its technology for engineering proteins with novel amino acids--beyond the 20 that oocur in nature--to enhance the properties of proteins whose potential therapeutic uses, as well as liabilities, are known.