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Mimotopes Awarded Major Peptide Supply Contract by the Queensland Institute of Medical Research in the Search for an Effective Malaria Vaccine
Date:2/8/2010

Mimotopes' PepSets™ to be used to identify novel proteins from the malaria parasite for next generation vaccine development

Melbourne, Australia (PRWEB) February 8, 2010 -- Mimotopes Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of Commonwealth Biotechnologies Inc., is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a major peptide library supply contract from the Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR) for screening proteins from the malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum. Funded by the US National Institutes of Health, the project requires the synthesis of up to 27,000 peptides derived from the Plasmodium parasite on Mimotopes’ proprietary PepSet™ peptide library platform. With the use of this technology, QIMR aims to identify those peptides that can be combined to form an effective malaria vaccine. This work builds upon Mimotopes’ recent library supply contracts for screening dengue virus and Mycobacterium tuberculosis (PRWeb December 21, 2009) and previous projects targeting Hepatitis B virus, Hepatitis C virus, human cytomegalovirus, HIV and influenza.

To date, only a handful of protein regions (called peptide “epitopes”) that could act as vaccines against malaria have been thoroughly investigated. Peptide libraries are an important tool in developing new vaccines because they are ideal for screening large numbers of peptides and identifying those that elicit a strong response from the immune system. According to Mimotopes’ CEO, Dr. Nick Ede, “Mimotopes is the originator of peptide libraries and is well-recognized as the global leader in producing large screening sets of peptides for epitope discovery and validation. Using our peptide libraries, the QIMR team will test thousands of potential epitopes that have been predicted through a study of the genome sequence of Plasmodium falciparum. We are proud to play a role in assisting QIMR in the fight against one of the most widespread and deadly human diseases.”

Despite intense research efforts, malaria remains a significant public health problem worldwide. Each year, up to 3 million deaths and 300-500 million episodes of clinical illness are attributed to malaria. According to Dr Denise Doolan, Head of the Molecular Vaccinology Laboratory at QIMR, “the spread of drug-resistant Plasmodium parasites and insecticide-resistant mosquito vectors means that the development of an effective malaria vaccine is now a public health priority. However, the complexity of the Plasmodium parasite and the human host pose enormous challenges for malaria vaccine development. We will be using Mimotopes’ peptide libraries to screen up to 27,000 potential vaccine targets with the aim of developing a multi-stage, multi-component vaccine against malaria. By combining epitopes recognised by T-cells during the liver stage of the disease with epitopes recognised in the blood-stage of the disease, we hope to provide the immune system with a greater opportunity to recognise and eliminate the parasite at different stages of its life cycle.”

Large screening projects, such as the malaria vaccine work at QIMR, are uniquely suited to Mimotopes’ proprietary solid-phase peptide library platform because it allows for the production of higher purity peptides at lower unit cost compared with traditional resin-based methods. This technology has also been used by Mimotopes to produce “off-the-shelf” peptide library sets, including a protease profiling library based on fluorescence resonance energy transfer (“REPLi”) and combinatorial 2-mer and 3-mer peptide libraries used in drug discovery applications. According to Dr. Ede, “Synthesising peptides on the solid-phase using parallel robotics systems allows us to produce cleaner peptides that are easier to dissolve and therefore easier to use than those derived from resin-based systems. The Mimotopes platform also allows large numbers of peptides to be produced very quickly – tens of thousands can be synthesised in a matter of weeks. We hope that by making large peptide sets affordable and available very quickly, we will be able to further stimulate development of new vaccines and peptide-based therapeutics.”

About Mimotopes - “The Peptide Company”
Established in 1989, Mimotopes Pty Ltd is one of the original peptide companies and the founder of peptide library technology. With its main production facility in Melbourne (Australia) and a new peptide R&D innovation centre near Shanghai (China), Mimotopes' patented synthesis processes, high-quality production facilities and experienced staff have made it one of the leading research-grade peptide companies in the world.

Peptides are fragments of proteins that play an important role in modulating many physiological processes and therefore have excellent potential as research tools and therapeutic agents. Peptides have a number of advantages over traditional drugs, including low toxicity and immunogenicity, excellent specificity and high potency. They now represent one of the most active areas of research and development in the drug discovery industry. For online peptide shopping or more information from the peptide experts, visit www.mimotopes.com

About Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR)
QIMR is one of Australia’s largest and most successful medical research institutes. Our researchers are investigating the genetic and environmental causes of more than 40 diseases as well as developing new diagnostics, better treatments and prevention strategies. The Institute’s diverse research program extends from tropical diseases to cancers to Indigenous health, mental health, obesity, HIV and asthma. www.qimr.edu.au

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Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2010/02/prweb3564994.htm.


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