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October 2009
by David Hutton  |  Email the author
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ST. JOSEPH, Mich.GeneGo Inc. announced in September that Proteostasis Therapeutics has licensed its data mining and analysis platform, MetaCore. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.  
 
Proteostasis Therapeutics is the first company dedicated to the discovery of novel small-molecule therapeutics based upon understanding the body's proteostasis network. The proteostasis network maintains the body's natural balance of proteins to protect us from numerous diseases.  
 
According to Dr. Hui Ge, head of systems biology at Proteostasis Therapeutics, GeneGo's MetaCore provides a wealth of information curated from biomedical literature about how genes interaction with one another, as well as when and where genes are expressed. 
 
"Such information helps us with our efforts to characterize the proteostasis network, the network of interacting biological pathways that maintains the natural balance of proteome homeostasis," Ge says. "Perturbations in the proteostasis network result in a broad array of diseases, such as Huntington's disease, Alzheimer's disease and type 2 diabetes."  
 
GeneGo's MetaCore is developing pathway reconstruction maps for a number of disease categories, including neurodegenerative disorders. Disease-specific pathway maps and models can be used as analytical tools to help advance our understanding of the diseases, their mechanisms and processes to help find cures faster.  
 
"We are very pleased to add Proteostasis as a new customer as we work towards delivering our unique disease specific platforms," says Julie Bryant, GeneGo's vice president of business development. "Understanding and capturing disease pathways is one of our top development priorities, and we are glad to see it appreciated by drug discovery companies."  
 
"Proteostasis Therapeutics is building a proprietary platform to rapidly translate the emerging knowledge of how the proteostasis network functions to discover novel small molecules, and GeneGo's MetaCore integrated software suite is a valuable tool in these efforts," Ge adds. "We are pleased with GeneGo's comprehensive curated database of protein interactions, which enables us to rapidly use this information in our proteostasis network characterization efforts."  
 
Ge says the MetaCore platform will be used to obtain knowledge of gene-gene and protein-protein interactions to help characterize the proteostasis network.
 
"We will use the visualization software to help depict these interactions," Ge notes. "We will consider this successful if the information and visualization tools in the MetaCore platform make a significant contribution to our proteostasis network characterization efforts."  
 
The goal for characterizing the proteostasis network, according to Ge, is to understand diseases on a systems level and to use this understanding in drug discovery efforts.
 
"We expect this effort to provide us novel insight to the disease that we study and help to discover and design small molecules with increased efficacy and reduced toxicity," Ge notes. "In addition, we expect that our proteostasis network characterization efforts to assist in drug development activities by providing insights that will assist with patient stratification, dosing schedules, and biomarker tracking. Currently, we are mapping the proteostasis network in a number of normal tissues, but we will expanding our efforts to characterize proteostasis network changes in disease states and under genetic and chemical perturbations."
 
Code: E100912

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