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Compugen (CGEN): Advancing the Drug Discovery Process

Prohost Biotech - Thursday, August 12, 2010

With the evolution of the genomic and proteomic technologies, we highly regard and appreciate the firms that have invested in these technology towards breakthrough discoveries that are used in a therapeutic progress towards healing chronic and deadly diseases. One of these firms has offered us more than hints about what it can accomplish through its thoroughly developed technologies. The firm in question is Compugen (CGEN), is still small as measured by its market cap, but we see it as a future giant based on its achievements. Using its LEADS Platform and other proprietary algorithms and technologies, Compugen was capable of predicting in silico the existence of novel members of the B7/CD28 family of co-stimulatory proteins, and discovering an extracellular region of the predicted (previously unknown) membrane protein in the B7/CD28 family.

B7/CD28 co-stimulation protein family is of extreme importance in immune regulation. Compugen’s  predictive capability and experimental validation of a previously unknown member of this important protein family represents a major advancement in therapeutic discovery from being totally based on experimentation to originating from in silico prediction and selection new capabilities. With the discovery of the new extracelluar region membrane protein in the B7/CD28 family, Compugen has walked extra steps towards developing a product, CGEN-15001, as a novel soluble recombinant fusion protein that corresponds to the extracellular region of the discovered parent protein. Compugen is patenting both the parent protein, which potentially has other medical uses such as a target for antibody therapeutics, and its CGEN-15001 molecules. 

After validating the predicted functional activity of CGEN-15001 as a new member of the B7/CD28 family proteins, Compugen embarked on Validating the drug in vivo in mouth model of relapsing-remitting experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (R-EAE) mouse model a recognized mouse model for multiple sclerosis. The results demonstrated potent improvement of the disease state and indicated that CGEN-15001 could have therapeutic utility for the treatment of multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, inflammatory bowel disease, and type 1 diabetes.

According to professor Stephen Miller from Northwestern University, a leading scientist in this field who supervised the experiments, CGEN-15001 has scored a robust disease suppressing activity in the SJL R-EAE model. The drug has the unique ability to inhibit proliferation, differentiation, and cytokine production of pro-inflammatory Th1 and Th17 responses while at the same time sparing or actually promoting regulatory Th2-derived cytokines. The professor added “As far as I am aware, this potentially very beneficial pattern of inhibiting Th1/Th17 while promoting Th2 responses is unique among the reagents targeting the B7 family of co-stimulatory molecules that have been published to date.”

Compugen’s capability emanate from its LEADS platform, which provides a comprehensive predictive view of the human transcriptome, proteome and peptidome. It enables the discovery of novel genes, transcripts and proteins. It comprises extensive gene information and annotation, such as splice variants, antisense genes, SNPs, novel genes and RNA editing. At the protein level, the technology provides full protein annotation, including homologies, domain information, subcellular localization, peptide prediction and novelty status. Compugen’s success emanates  from its capability understanding and modeling of genomic structure, of gene expression, protein structural domains, and cellular localization.

Autoimmune diseases develop when the immune system attacks its own cells, tissues, and organs. It comprises more than 80 chronic, and often disabling, illnesses. Among the most common autoimmune diseases are rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, type 1 diabetes, thyroiditis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and many other known, or yet to be recognized diseases. Autoimmune diseases affect an estimated 25 million people in the U.S.

We long CompuGen (CGEN)

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