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SYGNIS Announces Double Switch Technology Patent Deal with SYSTASY

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SYGNIS AG has announced that it has signed a patent transfer agreement for some patents linked to the Double Switch project with SYSTASY Bioscience GmbH, a service provider in drug discovery.

The transferred IP is part of a broader IP family covering SYGNIS' proprietary Double Switch technology for the qualitative and quantitative detection of the interactions of two proteins. Financial details were not disclosed but comprise upfront payments and a royalty component.

SYGNIS' Double Switch technology is based on a protease called 'TEV (tobacco etch virus) protease' deriving from a plant virus. This enzyme has virtually no targets in the human proteome and therefore does not cause any damage to mammalian cells.

The highly sequence specific TEV protease activates expression of an easily detectable reporter upon interaction of two proteins of interest by cleaving off a transcriptional activator. It can be used either in its entirety ('Full-TEV'), or in a split version ('Split-TEV') to detect protein-protein interactions in a highly sensitive manner.

SYSTASY purchased the patent for the 'Split-TEV' Double Switch for use with its EXTassay platform whereas SYGNIS kept the full rights of the full-length version ('Full-TEV') for further licensing activities.

SYSTASY intends to use the Split-TEV technology under the brand name splitSENSOR to monitor individual drug targets in HTS applications. Further, SYSTASY integrates the splitSENSOR technology into its proprietary EXTassay platform for the simultaneous analysis of multiple cellular targets and signaling events within living cells.

Apart from this deal, SYGNIS is currently in advanced negotiations with leading industry partners in the life sciences and pharmaceutical industry for licensing 'Full-TEV' Double Switch technology for the use in screening platforms as well as in sophisticated tests for the analysis of protein-protein interactions in basic research, drug discovery and development.

SYGNIS' CEO Pilar de la Huerta commented: 'With the new agreement, SYGNIS signed the second technology deal and enters the high-growth area of cellular assay development. The combination of the Split-TEV technology with SYSTASY's proprietary EXTassay screening platform for the analysis of signal pathways validates our technology in an industrial environment and opens up a broad field of new opportunities in the area of personalized healthcare, drug development and basic research.'

'We are very enthusiastic about the opportunities of the Split-TEV patent we have acquired from SYGNIS. This transfer puts us into the position to combine splitSENSOR assays with our proprietary EXTassay technology platform to expand our service portfolio', said Dr. Sven Wichert, CEO of SYSTASY. 'The Split-TEV technology developed by the innovative team of researchers at SYGNIS allows us to provide our customers with a comprehensive service package in drug development that will help to significantly accelerate drug discovery and development processes and to improve the cost-benefit ratio in the process of developing better medicines.'

'The understanding of signaling pathways and interactions between proteins is crucial for gaining insight into molecular processes, for example in basic research, in the study of diseases, especially cancer or neurological disorders, and in drug discovery and development', added Prof. Dr. Armin Schneider, Senior Vice President Research at SYGNIS. 'Our proprietary Double Switch technology enables researchers to understand how a small molecule impacts the signaling pathways in a cell and how cellular physiology is influenced by a drug candidate. Deeper knowledge of these protein-based interactions can significantly enhance drug discovery and development processes and increase the efficiency of drug development programs.'