Protea Biosciences Group, Inc. is an “emerging growth company,” as defined in the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012 (“JOBS Act”), in the molecular imaging business. Protea applies its core technologies and expertise to the development of products and services that improve the discovery and identification of proteins, metabolites and other biomolecules, which are the products of all living cells and life forms. The company has developed a proprietary molecular information platform technology with broad applications in the pharmaceutical, diagnostic, agricultural and life science industries.
Protea combines its proprietary technology, Laser Ablation Electrospray Ionization (LAESI) mass spectrometry, with molecular visualization capabilities and bioinformatics to deliver molecular intelligence solutions that improve outcomes in the fields of preclinical drug discovery, biomarker discovery and ultimately clinical medicine. LAESI can also be applied to other areas such as forensics, food or the agricultural industry. LAESI melds biology and chemistry. It is intended to meet the broad need of the biologist for the direct, unbiased identification and characterization of biomolecules in biological samples. A key advantage of LAESI is the access and visualization of molecules of interest directly as they exist and where they exist. The LAESI DP-1000 system allows fast and accurate direct ionization and mapping of biomolecules in biological samples and open well plates. Protea believes that the LAESI DP-1000 is currently compatible with 3,000 mass spectrometers worldwide from Waters Corp. and Thermo Fisher Scientific. Protea intends to work towards making the LAESI DP-1000 compatible with a larger number of mass spectrometers through integration with other mass spectrometry vendors such as Bruker Corp. and Danaher’s AB Sciex unit.
The company’s second business line, Molecular Information Services, is a portfolio of services provided to the pharmaceutical, biomarker discovery and agriculture markets. Protea offers proprietary imaging services for the rapid identification of both small molecules (e.g. lipids and metabolites) and large molecules (e.g. proteins). The services unit is operated under GLP (Good Laboratory Practices), which are necessary for regulatory submissions and to meet the internal research and development standards of pharmaceutical research clients. Protea’s services focus on the unique capability of LAESI technology to image and display the presence of specific biomolecules in cell and tissue samples. Protea is applying LAESI to create large cell-based biomolecular databases that will be specific to disease states and allow the analysis and integration of LAESI biomolecular datasets with the sample-related pathology, gene expression and demographic datasets. It is developing “high resolution” LAESI technology that will enable the analysis of single cells. We believe LAESI can generate important advances in bioinformatics to help provide time-based, biodynamic datasets for improved disease state assessment and management.
The company’s third business line is Molecular Database Products. This unit utilizes LAESI technology to create comprehensive, tissue and cell-based molecular information databases that will be specific to disease states and allow the integration of LAESI molecular datasets with related pathology, gene expression and demographic datasets, with the purpose of improving human disease state detection, assessment and management. Protea’s technology generates very large databases of molecular information and it is not unusual to identify over 1,000 individual molecules in a single experiment. Larger databases aid the “molecular eyesight” of a researcher, improving their prospects to find new biomarkers or molecular data that will provide new research insight. The company develops scientific collaborations with key top-tier academic centers, such as Memorial Sloan-Kettering, to jointly discover and develop new therapeutic targets and disease specific biomarkers.