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Thursday, July 1, 2010

No Genomics Revolution? Compugen's Answer

Recently we have witnessed a profusion of reports that despite billions of dollars spent on genomics research, it has failed to yield the bountiful harvest of medicines and diagnostics that had been anticipated following completion of the first draft of the Human Genome Project (see, for example: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/13/health/research/13genome.html?hp; http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/15/business/15genome.html; http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/21/opinion/21mon2.html?ref=editorials).

In an earlier blog entry, I took issue with this conclusion (see: http://jgcaesarea.blogspot.com/2010/06/decade-later-genetic-map-yields-few-new.html). The science underlying human disease may be far more complicated than originally thought, and the "mere" mapping of the human genome is plainly insufficient to provide the next generation of drugs, but as evidenced by the lonely pioneering efforts of a tiny company named Compugen, I believe that genomics is essential to the future of medicine.

Compugen has spent the past decade engaged in computerized modeling of biological phenomena at the molecular level, giving rise, inter alia, to proprietary maps of the human proteome (all of the proteins in the human body) and peptidome (all of the peptides in the human body). Compugen's 12 predictive discovery platforms, with more on the way, have already yielded multiple new drug and diagnostic candidates predicted in silico, i.e. by Compugen's computers, to validate these platforms, without the need for inefficient trial and error methodology.

How many of you have a friend or family member suffering from multiple sclerosis? Almost all of us know someone who has fallen victim to this devastating disease. I think Compugen's announcement of today's date, describing the in vivo testing of a heretofore unknown protein predicted and discovered by Compugen, speaks for itself:

"Compugen . . . announced today that administration of CGEN-15001 in an animal model of multiple sclerosis (MS) has been shown to completely abolish spontaneous relapses. In addition, administration of this novel molecule prior to disease onset demonstrated a pronounced delay of disease onset and a significant decrease in disease symptoms. These results, together with complementary results from earlier studies, strongly support a significant potential therapeutic utility for CGEN-15001 in the treatment of multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, inflammatory bowel disease, and type 1 diabetes.

* * * *

Professor Stephen Miller from Northwestern University, a leading scientist in this field who supervised the studies, stated, 'The capacity of CGEN-15001 to prevent the development of disease in this well-recognized animal model for multiple sclerosis, and more significantly to ameliorate its progression when administered in the presence of pre-existing disease is quite dramatic. Furthermore, these beneficial effects were shown to be long lasting and persisted through the study, indicating that CGEN-15001 may prevent disease progression as efficiently as immune tolerance induction, a process whereby the immune system no longer attacks the self antigens that cause the disease. These findings, together with those demonstrated in our earlier studies, are unique among the molecules targeting the B7 family of co-stimulatory molecules that have been published to date.'”

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Compugen-Discovered-Protein-bw-3902315198.html?x=0&.v=1

As further observed by Compugen in an earlier press release with respect to the science leading up to the discovery of this protein:

"CGEN-15001 is a novel soluble recombinant fusion protein corresponding to the extracellular region of the Compugen discovered parent protein. The discovery of the parent protein, which is a membrane protein, was accomplished through the incorporation in Compugen’s LEADS Platform of additional algorithms specifically designed to predict novel members of the B7/CD28 family of co-stimulatory proteins. This approach relied on Compugen’s proprietary understandings and modeling of genomic structure, gene expression, protein structural domains, and cellular localization."

http://www.cgen.com/Content.aspx?Page=press_releases&NewsId=470

CGEN-15001 has yet to enter human clinical testing, and there can be no assurances that this particular candidate will ultimately become a therapeutic product. What we can be sure of, however, is that Compugen's predictive "discovery on demand" capabilities are constantly improving and continuing to yield an ever-growing number of significant therapeutic and diagnostic candidates, which are not confined to any one family of diseases, at a time when the pipelines of Big Pharma are growing drier by the day.

Unbeknownst to the world, we are witnessing, in my opinion, a scientific revolution in the making, which can no longer be ignored by Big Pharma and the scientific community at large.

[As noted in prior blog entries, I am a Compugen shareholder, this blog entry is not a recommendation to buy or sell Compugen shares, and in mid-September 2009 I began work as a part-time external consultant to Compugen. The opinions expressed herein are mine and are based on publicly available information. This blog entry has not been authorized or approved by Compugen.]

3 comments:

  1. Thank you for your fascinating dialogue on Compugen's latest discovery and indeed all your previous blog's highlighting the incredible achievements of this remarkable company. As a believer,investor and enthusiast I would love to have an industry authority and expert who has no axe to grind comment on their achievements to date and indicate what downsides,pitfalls or unachievables might exist in the short term. Do you know of any contacts who might like to look at the other side of the coin and post their views ?

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  2. Dear Ken,

    Thanks for your comment. As you know, as of today there is only one analyst covering the company.

    My suggestion: participate in the second quarter conference call and ask management this question. I am confident you will receive a very candid reply.

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  3. Dear Ken,

    You might wish to purchase the July 2 Cantor Fitzgerald update on Compugen.

    ReplyDelete