Oxford Expression Technologies - "meeting the needs of the post-genomic eraâ
Oxford Expression Technologies (OET), a commercial unit operating from the Insect Virus Research Group at Oxford Brookes University launched its first product, FlashBAC? in April 2004
Simultaneous virus production in 96-well plates
OET was started by Linda King, Dean of Biological Sciences and Professor of Insect Virology at Oxford Brookes University and Robert Possee, Professor of Virology at the Natural Environment Research Council Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Oxford. Professors King and Possee have collaborated over many years and have developed world-renowned expertise in the genetics and molecular biology of insect viruses and their applications in the fields of biotechnology and agriculture.
The group is now in a position to be able to exploit the jointly developed patented research in this exciting new platform technology. FlashBAC? is a one-step baculovirus expression technology designed specifically for high throughput and automated use which enables academics, biotech companies and pharmaceutical companies to be able to explore the function of proteins more quickly and efficiently. Following the sequencing of the human genome, the quest is now on to turn the knowledge of our genetic make-up into research breakthroughs that could lead to new drugs and treatments for disease. The sequencing of the human genome provided a list of the thousands of genes in the human body. Although this was a great achievement, it was just the start.
All genes produce different proteins, and it is these that offer the most exciting possibilities. By investigating the effects of individual proteins within the body, we can target specific proteins for further research and potential drug design. But how do we find out what all these proteins do, and whether any of them offer a potential therapeutic benefit? To answer this question there need to be technologies capable of producing the vast number of different proteins for research from the library of genes that has come from the Human Genome Project.
The protein is virtually the same as the human version and so few further tests are needed to verify results, but the process is very slow, skilled and expensive and so is usually reserved for final level research.
Fully automated recombinant baculovirus production
FlashBAC? allows researchers to produce protein from genes using the baculovirus system many times faster than has previously been possible. The old technology is limited in its use as it needs skilled technicians at several stages and is therefore very costly and time-consuming.
FlashBAC? revolutionises this. The new technology not only reduces the time and effort needed to produce a recombinant baculovirus (the vehicle required to produce the chosen protein), but also for the first time allows simultaneous production of many viruses, each expressing a different gene and so producing a different protein, so potentially enabling thousands of proteins to be produced simultaneously and quickly. Importantly, this technique now requires so few manipulations that the process can be automated. Therefore with the use of robotics equipment, it is now possible to produce highquality proteins on an industrial scale.
Professor Linda King, Dean of BMS and co-inventor of the new technology, said: ?FlashBAC? is a real breakthrough in protein production. We are pleased to be able to offer the technology to scientists worldwide to further their research into protein function. The end results are likely to be of significant benefit in furthering our scientific knowledge?. Oxford Brookes University has also signed an agreement with Cambridge based company NextGen Sciences Ltd., a developer of automated integrated systems for the molecular biology and protein research market, to license FlashBAC? for sale on their robotic platforms.
Insect Virus Research Group at Oxford Brookes University
Dr. Grant Cameron from NextGen said: ?We are delighted to be able to offer this break-through technology with our integrated systems. The combination of our track record of successfully launching new technologies and Professors King and Possee?s world-leading expertise in the field should greatly speed up the worldwide drug discovery process?. The technology is available under a research or commercial licence in kit form directly from OET.
Further details, including information on their custom expression services, troubleshooting and training courses can be found on their website: www.expressiontechnologies.com
OET are also looking for further distributors.