Icosagen AS (www. icosagen.com) is biotechnology company providing services and produces reagents, kits and recombinant proteins for research and development for the research and commercial customers. The Company is producing kits for quantitative measurement of allergens Hev b 1, Hev b 3, Hev b 5 and Hev b 6.02 from natural rubber latex products and provides service for measurements of allergen content in gloves and other products. Additionally, Icosagen AS developes, manufactures and sells mouse monoclonal antibodies directed against different viral (HIV1, SIV, HPV, BPV1, HCV etc.) proteins.
Icosagen AS has developed proprietary technology (QMCF technology®) for production single and multiple subunit protein in animal suspension cell culture (European patent number 1851319 “Vectors, cell lines and their use in obtaining extended episomal maintenance replication of hybrid plasmids and expression of gene products”). We have successfully produced mouse and human antibodies, viral glycoproteins, growth factors, exosomal proteins and number of recombinant proteins up to gram quantities. Icosagen AS is active in multidisciplinary research and development, having extensive program for development of cell-based assays for research as well as for drug development.
Prof. Mart Ustav is CEO of Icosagen AS and Icosagen Cell Factory OÜ since January 2009. Currently Mart Ustav is also working as Professor of Biomedical Technology, Institute of Technology, University of Tartu, Estonia and is leading research group (20 people) dealing with the studies of DNA replication of papillomaviruses and induction of innate immune response by the RNA viruses. His group is part of the network of Centre of Excellence in Chemical Biology sponsored by the Estonian government. Icosagen AS and Icosagen Cell Factory OÜ employ in total 29 people. Icosagen is currently the partner in two FP6 projects. The goal of FP6 project ARTEMIS is to develop an in vitro system of neural tissue from differentiating embryonic stem cells inside biomaterials, that exhibits neural tissue properties of the memory acquisition/learning of electrical stimulus and to use this for transgenics and studies of neurotoxicity. NANOMYC is the FP6 project for development of diagnostics of Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Krohn’s disease.
Company has fully equipped laboratories (900 square meters) and up-to date equipment for all business activities immunological, molecular biology, proteomics, as well as first class tissue culture facilities. We use for animal work with mice and rabbits Tartu University and University of Life Sciences animal facilities.
Main tasks of Icosagen AS
The main task for the Icosagen AS is development of tools – recombinant proteins as immunogens, allergens, effector molecules, and monoclonal or polyclonal antibodies. Additionally, Icosagen will use QMCF technology for cell-based assays to reconstruct the signal transduction pathways leading to atopic dermatitis or psoriasis (WP5). The group also participates in analysis induction of atopic dermatitis and psoriasis using naked DNA plasmid delivery into the skin of the mice for targeted expression of viral
Previous experience relevant to the tasks
The main strength of the group is in production of proteins in bacterial and animal cells, in development of monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies, in building cell-based assays, and in in vivo gene delivery.
1. Martinon F., et al., Hum. Gene Ther. 2009 20:1-17.
2. Kadaja M., et al., PLoS Pathog. 2009 5(4):e1000397.
3. Nikonov A., et al., J Biol Chem. 2008 283(35):24089-102.
4. Kadaja M., et al., EMBO J. 2007 26(8):2180-91.
5. Silla T, et al., J Virol. 2005 79(24):15277-88.
A short profile of the staff-members involved in the project.
Prof. Ustav is the Principal Investigator, expert in molecular virology, gene vaccination, gene delivery. Dr. Andres Tover is expert in bacterial and animal cell production of proteins; Dr. Radi Tegova is expert in molecular genetics and in cell-based assays, Ene Talpsep, M.Sci. is Scientist and expert in bacterial protein expression. The team of technical experts and technicians from Icosagen AS is providing their service to the project.
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