Media Releases

Ontario Genomics Institute invests in validation of a novel protein interaction technology at the University of Toronto

November 1, 2012

TORONTO, ON - Every process in a cell is affect­ed by inter­ac­tions between pro­teins. Under­stand­ing how pro­teins react in the human body and their rela­tion­ship to dis­eases is essen­tial to the devel­op­ment of new and bet­ter tar­get­ed ther­a­pies. The Ontario Genomics Insti­tute (OGI) is pro­vid­ing $100,000 through its Pre-com­mer­cial­iza­tion Busi­ness Devel­op­ment Fund (PBDF) to the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to (U of T)’s Mammalian Membrane Two-Hybrid (MaMTH) project, which seeks to devel­op and com­mer­cial­ize a process to bet­ter under­stand mem­brane pro­teins in mam­malian cells.

Dr. Igor Stagl­jar and his research team at U of T have devel­oped a tech­nol­o­gy to ana­lyze pro­tein-pro­tein inter­ac­tions of mam­malian inte­gral mem­brane pro­teins. Mem­brane pro­teins, which make up approx­i­mate­ly one-third of all pro­teins in a cell, are respon­si­ble for a vari­ety of process­es, mak­ing them attrac­tive ther­a­peu­tic tar­gets. How­ev­er, they are dif­fi­cult to study because of their chem­i­cal com­plex­i­ty. This trans­la­tion­al research tool will allow researchers to study inter­ac­tions between mem­brane pro­teins of inter­est and how they respond to var­i­ous ther­a­peu­tic com­pounds in the con­text of the human cell.

“This tool has the poten­tial to improve drug devel­op­ment and expand the resources avail­able to com­pa­nies devel­op­ing new ther­a­peu­tics,” said Dr. Mark Poz­nan­sky, Pres­i­dent and CEO, Ontario Genomics Insti­tute. “Invest­ment in projects like Dr. Stagljar’s demon­strate OGI’s com­mit­ment to fos­ter­ing a vibrant life sci­ences com­mu­ni­ty in Ontario.”

Pro­teom­ic tech­nolo­gies such as MaMTH are increas­ing­ly play­ing key roles in the fields of med­i­cine, drug dis­cov­ery and mol­e­c­u­lar diag­nos­tics. This tool has gar­nered atten­tion from indus­try, who plan to license the tech­nol­o­gy if the project is suc­cess­ful. OGI’s fund­ing is essen­tial for the devel­op­ment and val­i­da­tion nec­es­sary to make this assay com­mer­cial­ly viable.

“We are pleased to receive this fund­ing from OGI, which comes at a crit­i­cal time as we com­mer­cial­ize our assay,” said Dr. Stagl­jar, Pro­fes­sor, U of T. “There is strong demand for tech­nolo­gies like MaMTH from both acad­e­mia and phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies, and this fund­ing will enable us to make the final step in bring­ing this tool to mar­ket.”

“The MaMTH project is a great exam­ple of an effec­tive part­ner­ship between researchers work­ing with their aca­d­e­m­ic insti­tu­tion and key strate­gic part­ners, to ben­e­fit the research com­mu­ni­ty and trans­late a tech­nol­o­gy to indus­try,” said Ian Stew­art, Senior Man­ag­er, Com­mer­cial­iza­tion and Busi­ness Devel­op­ment, the Inno­va­tions and Part­ner­ships Office at U of T.

OGI’s PBDF pro­gram invests in oppor­tu­ni­ties — based in genomics, pro­teomics or asso­ci­at­ed tech­nolo­gies — that fall in the proof-of-prin­ci­ple (val­i­da­tion) phase of research and have the short-term poten­tial to secure a sig­nif­i­cant next step towards the mar­ket­place. Pre­vi­ous recip­i­ents have includ­ed Ontario uni­ver­si­ties, research insti­tutes and com­pa­nies.


About OGI

The Ontario Genomics Insti­tute (OGI) is a pri­vate, not-for-prof­it cor­po­ra­tion focused on using world-class research to cre­ate strate­gic genomics resources and accel­er­ate Ontario’s devel­op­ment of a glob­al­ly-com­pet­i­tive life sci­ences sec­tor. Through its rela­tion­ship with Genome Cana­da, the Ontario Min­istry of Eco­nom­ic Devel­op­ment and Inno­va­tion, and oth­er pri­vate and pub­lic sec­tor part­ners, OGI works to: iden­ti­fy, attract and sup­port invest­ment in Ontario-led genomics research; cat­alyze access to and the impact of genomics resources; and, raise the vis­i­bil­i­ty of genomics as well as its impact and asso­ci­at­ed issues.

For more infor­ma­tion about OGI, please vis­it

OGI media enquiries:
Chris­tine Beyaert, Cor­po­rate Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Man­ag­er