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Mimotopes Awarded a Major Peptide Library Supply Agreement by La Jolla Institute for their Studies Screening Dengue and Tuberculosis Pathogens

Mimotopes PepSets to be used by the La Jolla Institute to identify regions of the dengue virus and Mycobacterium tuberculosis that can be targeted by new vaccines

Melbourne, Australia (PRWEB) December 21, 2009 -- Mimotopes Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of Commonwealth Biotechnologies Inc. (NASDAQ Capital Market: CBTE), is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a major supply agreement for the synthesis of peptide libraries that will be used in screening dengue virus and Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The US government-funded screening projects, to be conducted at the La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology (LIAI) require the synthesis of over 30,000 peptides on Mimotopes’ proprietary PepSetTM peptide library platform. With the use of this technology, the La Jolla Institute aims to identify regions of the dengue and Tuberculosis pathogens that can be targeted by new vaccines. The synthesis of the large targeted libraries in these projects builds on Mimotopes’ recent success in producing screening libraries for Hepatitis B Virus, Hepatitis C Virus, Human cytomegalovirus, HIV, influenza and the malaria parasite.

Understanding how the immune system recognises pathogens requires the testing of a large number of potential immune recognition sites, known as epitopes. Peptide libraries, such as those produced by Mimotopes, are ideal for this purpose because epitopes by their nature are short linear peptide sequences. According to Mimotopes’ CEO, Dr. Nick Ede, “Mimotopes has been synthesizing peptide libraries for immunology applications for over 20 years and has developed a unique proprietary solid-phase synthesis platform. Large screening projects requiring thousands of peptides, such as the epitope discovery programs at LIAI, are uniquely suited to Mimotopes’ peptide library platform because it allows for the production of higher purity peptides at lower unit cost compared with traditional resin-based methods. LIAI is one of the world's leading immunology research centres and we are proud to be able to assist them with these important public health initiatives.”

Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB), the bacteria that causes Tuberculosis, is the worldwide leading cause of death from infectious disease. The increasing incidence of drug resistant strains has heightened the interest in development of effective vaccines. LIAI's Dr Alessandro Sette, the principle investigator of both the MTB and dengue studies, said, “Identification and validation of epitopes is an important step in understanding how the human immune system responds to MTB infection. We will be using Mimotopes’ peptide libraries to discover new MTB epitopes and will also be testing immune reactions from different human populations to identify those epitopes that are recognized across diverse ethnicities.” In a concurrent study to be conducted at the LIAI, dengue virus epitopes will be identified from screens of the four dengue serotypes known to cause disease. The World Health Organization reports that two fifths of the world's population are now at risk from dengue and estimates that there may be 50 million cases of dengue infection worldwide every year. Dr Sette said, “Our study will evaluate the capacity of individual dengue epitopes to stimulate the immune system using a novel experimental mouse model. Ultimately, we aim to find those epitopes that have a protective function in humans across all four dengue serotypes, as these would form the basis of an effective broad-spectrum vaccine.”

Mimotopes was the originator of peptide library technology in the 1980’s and has led the world for over 20 years in epitope discovery and mapping programs. The Company continues to develop innovative peptide library offerings and earlier this year launched a ‘small but smart’ endopeptidase profiling library based on fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) as a tool for rapidly identifying protease substrates. Together with its partner ‘PepScan Presto’, Mimotopes also offers custom and pre-synthesized peptide microarrays (PepChip™) and Chemically Linked Peptides on Scaffolds (CLIPS™ technology) for the identification of non-linear or ‘conformational’ B-cell epitopes. According to Dr. Ede, “Peptide libraries are a rapid and cost effective solution for a wide range of bioactivity screening purposes, from epitope mapping of pathogenic organisms, to structure-activity studies, to the search for peptide drugs. Mimotopes is proud to be leading the way in this exciting field.”

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.

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