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8 Nov 2007

CRB becomes Panagene distributor

Cambridge Research Biochemicals (CRB) has signed an agreement with Panagene to become the UK distributor for high purity peptide nucleic acids (PNA) oligomers. PNAs have many applications in bio-procedures, diagnostics, and anti-gene therapies.

PNAs are synthetic analogues of DNA, and are available in quantities ranging from 50 nmole to gram-scale. They are synthesized on solid phase using Panagene’s patented BTS chemistry. Panagene has the worldwide exclusive license obtained from the Copenhagen Inventor Group (CIG) that invented custom PNA in 1991. CRB also offers custom PNA labelled with a variety of reporter molecules such as fluorescent dyes and Biotin.

Emily Humphrys, Commercial Director at CRB, said, ‘We are continually aiming to expand our product offering to our customers, and this latest deal ensures we are able to provide one of the hottest technologies. This adds custom PNA synthesis, catalogue PNA monomers and custom PNA microarrays to our already extensive portfolio of custom peptide synthesis offering.’

Dr Mike Gait, a consultant for Panagene, who has a research group at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge involved in PNA synthesis in biological applications, says: ‘I am delighted that CRB, which is a leading supplier of peptides and antibodies, has approved a distribution agreement with Panagene, who hold the exclusive world rights to sales of synthetic PNA. This will hopefully make PNA much more readily available in the UK and Europe than hitherto, and help advance research into PNA as potential therapeutics. I saw that such a partnership might be a good match and I was very happy to make the appropriate introductions.’

PNA oligomers are able to form very stable complexes with complementary DNA and RNA. They are also resistant to nucleases (and proteases) and so are potentially ideal reagents for antisense and antigene applications. Labelled PNAs also have applications in molecular diagnostics and as probes in microarrays.

Although PNAs work well in cell free systems, poor cellular uptake can limit their use in the regulation of gene expression in cell culture and in vivo. The conjugation of PNA to peptides, to lipophilic molecules and to cell-specific receptor ligands offers new ways to surmount this problem. CRB are ideally placed to advise on and supply such conjugates.