Collaboration will generate assays and mAbs for use by Sigma-Aldrich clients.

Sigma-Aldrich and drug discovery services CRO Domainex are pooling their expertise to develop  tools for use in the study of proteins involved in epigenetic pathways. Domainex will use its Combinatorial Domain Hunting (CDH) technology to produce soluble domains of a number of key epigenetic proteins.

The firm will use these proteins to construct biochemical assays for the target enzymes, and Sigma-Aldrich will use the proteins as antigens to raise specific monoclonal antibodies. The firm will then distribute the assays and monoclonals to researchers for use in identifying target proteins and studying their function. The collaboration will receive funding from the U.K. government’s Technology Strategy Board.

Domainex CDH technology enables the identification of key segments of a target gene that are functional and can be expressed in a stable and soluble manner in E. coli or Baculovirus. The firm claims the technology allows researchers to determine the crystal structures of key binding domains, enable binding or activity assays to be established, and facilitate drug discovery programs.

Domainex also offers client services based on its medicinal chemistry expertise and its LeadBuilder™ lead-generation platform. The firm separately aims to build a pipeline of small molecule drugs targeting enzymes that utilize nucleotide triphosphates (NTPs) as substrates or co-factors. It claims many known NTP-dependent enzymes represent well-validated therapeutic targets but have proved inaccessible using conventional protein-expression methods.

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