Proteos, a protein expression and purification contract research organization located in Kalamazoo’s Southwest Michigan Innovation Center, has received a grant under the National Institutes of Health Recovery Act Limited Competition: Small Business Catalyst Awards for Accelerating Innovative Research. 

On July 9, the company was awarded $169,643 to explore glycopeptides fusions to increase the serum half-life of therapeutic proteins, a research project envisioned by Proteos’ co-founder Robert Heinrikson, who is the project’s principal investigator.

This announcement was supported by funds provided to the NIH under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.  The NIH invited grant applications from small businesses that proposed to accelerate innovation through high-risk, high-reward research and development that has commercial potential and is relevant to the mission of the NIH. The Small Business Catalyst Award is further expected to support entrepreneurs of exceptional creativity, drawn from scientific and technological environments beyond NIH, who propose pioneering and possibly transformative approaches to addressing major biomedical or behavioral challenges with the potential for downstream commercial development.

Proteos, founded in 2003 by a team of seven ex-Pfizer scientists, currently has a staff of 14.

“Interestingly, even though we had a history with successful grants, and NIH gave priority to those without such a history in this competition, we got the grant anyway,” said Proteos CEO Clark Smith. “If we are successful with our approach, it will have significant impact on the practicality of protein therapeutics, a class of therapeutics that is growing rapidly.”

Added Ron Kitchens, CEO of Southwest Michigan First, which runs the innovation center: “The West Michigan life science community should applaud the continued support of Proteos by the NIH. When Southwest Michigan First worked to get Pfizer scientists to stick around in 2003, we had future successes like what Proteos is achieving in mind. We are pleased that companies, like Proteos, call West Michigan home and have the potential to develop products that will improve public health while creating significant value and economic benefit.”

Proteos is a contract research organization providing consultation on strategies covering all aspects of protein expression, production and purification; service and research that produces high quality proteins and peptides; protein sequencing; assay development and application of given protocols as part of quality assurance; and development of protein products, including recombinant human renin.

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