Cytos will develop influenza vaccine, and A*Star will work on SOLiD protocol projects with Life Technologies.

Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) announced a partnership with Cytos Biotechnology to develop a virus-like particle (VLP) flu vaccine targeting the viral hemagglutinin protein. The agency separately reported that it’s Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) is to collaborate with Life Technologies for the development of new SOLiD™ system-specific protocols focused on paired-end-tags (PET).

The vaccine collaboration will involve Cytos working in partnership with A*Star’s Experimental Therapeutics Centre (ETC) and the Singapore Immunology Network (SigN) to develop a prophylactic vaccine that will undergo preclinical development at Singapore’s DSO National Laboratories. Proof-of-concept studies will subsequently be carried out by Singapore’s Duke NUS-Graduate Medical School and the Singapore Clinical Research Institute.

Cytos will retain worldwide rights to further develop, manufacture, and commercialize the vaccine, with A*Star subsidiaries retaining the right to produce the vaccine for Singapore and other ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) territories.

“Through access to Singapore’s centers of scientific and drug development excellence we have the opportunity to gain clinical proof-of-concept for one of Cytos’ VLP vaccines in the prophylactic setting,” remarks Martin Bachmann, Ph.D., Cytos CSO. “The influenza vaccine collaboration is the first of its kind for Cytos and offers us the chance to, on the one hand, support Singapore and other member states of ASEAN in becoming more self-sufficient with provision of vaccines relevant to their emerging issues in public health and, on the other hand, contribute a valuable product candidate to extend Cytos’ existing pipeline.”

Meanwhile, A*Star’s GIS research organization’s collaboration with Life Technologies is focused on developing new SOLiD™ system-specific protocols focused on PET. Researchers from the genome institute’s PGS Flagship Programme will team up with Life Technologies to develop protocols they claim will broaden the applicability of the SOLiD System in translational research. New protocols resulting from the collaboration are projected to be available to SOLiD users during mid-2011. As part of the partnership GIS will install two more SOLiD systems, taking its tally up to six.

“We expect that the protocols developed in this collaboration will contribute to the advancement of research in cancer and other human diseases,” comments Ben Hwang, head of the Asia Pacific region for Life Technologies. “GIS’ use of SOLiD clearly demonstrates the importance of this technology to the future of genome sequencing.”

A*Star describes the GIS as a pioneer in the development of paired-end-tags for sequencing DNA. The PGS Flagship Programme is an incubation unit within GIS that provides consultative and integrated sequencing services using PET to enhance the analysis of transcription regulation and genome structural variation. The primary focus of research at GIS is in the field of cancer biomarkers for prognosis and disease monitoring and for the diagnosis of genetic disorders.

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