GWC Technologies Obtains License for Versatile Label-Free Array Surface from WARF
News Jun 26, 2008
GWC Technologies Inc. has announced that it has signed an agreement with the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) for an exclusive license to a new “carbon-on-metal” surface technology that will allow GWC’s imaging systems to generate reliable data.
Details of the new technology, developed in the laboratory of Dr. Lloyd Smith, chemistry professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, recently were published by lead author Matthew Lockett and colleagues in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.
“Carbon-on-metal surfaces, in conjunction with GWC’s label-free array systems, enhance the quality of information that can be obtained in studies of protein function. How proteins function is of great interest in drug discovery and life science research because proteins are central to how living cells are regulated at the molecular level,” explained Smith.
GWC’s scientific instruments use “SPR imaging,” a method of analyzing many proteins at once. SPR imaging does not need the fluorescent tags or other chemical labels that traditional methods of protein analysis require.
Fluorescent tags are problematic, because they can modify protein function, causing experimental artefacts. By contrast, experiments that use GWC’s SPR imaging systems generate data that more accurately reflect protein function, the company claims.
Stephen C. Weibel, GWC’s director of engineering and a co-inventor of the new technology, explained, “The consumable chips utilized in our detection systems have relied on traditional gold surfaces, suitable for use in the research lab. This new and more robust surface allows the development of biochips and chemical sensors for use in medical diagnostics, environmental testing, and agriculture and food monitoring.”
He noted that the new surface is similar to the coating technology used on razor blades. “In addition to enabling the fabrication of high-density bio-chips, the new surfaces also are suitable for mass-spectrometry analysis of proteins captured on our arrays.”
According to GWC’s president and CEO, Tim Burland, the new surfaces will enable the company to implement many assays that are vitally important in drug discovery. Examples include the analysis of DNA-protein interactions on DNA arrays manufactured by so-called “on-chip” synthesis, and the study of protein-drug interactions using small molecule arrays made by combinatorial chemistry. He added that the company will be seeking corporate partners to bring the technology to the broadest possible market as quickly as possible.