The cities in the title may remind you of the way some shops market themselves, telling us in which great places we may have the pleasure to purchase their products. In our case the list gives an indication of some of the places you would have been able to meet us during the first half of 2014.  Although “new FastLane structures” does not quite fit into that picture, the further development of our list has been an important part of our activities during that period. Here follow some of the highlights from last year.

Early in 2014 we entered a strategic partnership with the Stockholm-based company Xbrane Bioscience. Xbrane offers protein
production and bacterial expression strain development services that are tailored around each individual target and based on the needs of the customer. Xbrane’s unique bacterial expression platforms ensure high success rates in a shorter time for each project. This speed is essential for us, since having a synchrotron beamline within walking distance, we need to have all other stages of the process optimized to be able to draw maximum benefit from this. The second highlight of the first half of the year was the start of the collaboration with the Basel-based company BioVersys within the Eurostars-financed project SARTRIC. The project is aimed at targeting multidrug-resistant bacterial infections. We all know that antimicrobial resistance represents a major threat to public health worldwide and is far from being adequately addressed today. The SARTRIC project aims at restoring antibiotic activity by blocking the transcriptional activation of resistance genes with small molecules. This way the efficacy of already known antibiotics may be restored. This was also our 3rd successful EU application. The first two, the KINOMED and the TAKTIC projects, were highlighted in earlier blog posts.

When looking back now it is also exciting to see how much we travelled during the first half of 2014. In February SARomics Biostructures was represented at two meetings: The 8th Swiss-Scandinavian Bio-Business Seminar in Zurich, Switzerland, and the Science Link meeting at DESY, Hamburg.  Science Link is a EU-funded project aimed at bringing more industrial users, especially from the materials science area, to the European synchrotrons. Several synchrotrons collaborate with local business-promoting agencies within this project. Although we are not part of that project, we were invited to share our experience in serving as a bridge between the MAX-lab synchrotron on one hand and the biotech industry and academic groups on the other.

In March we were present at the BIO-Europe Spring 2014 in Turin, Italy. A great meeting, growing larger and larger each year. In 2014 there were 2083 registered participants representing 1209 companies from 42 countries! More than 70% of the delegates were at senior management level. We also managed to organize TAKTIC consortium meeting immediately after the Bio-Europe gathering. One of the consortium members, Marco Lolli, works at the University of Turin (see previous blog entry).

In May SARomics attended the two parallel conferences on Drug Design & Medicinal Chemistry and Protein Kinases in Drug Discovery in Berlin. These two events were tremendously informative and inspirational regarding the latest developments in both fields, although hopping between the two conferences (held in adjacent rooms) to catch the best of everything was a major logistics exercise! The seeds were sown for new partnerships and our collaborator Prof. Gisbert Schneider of ETH Zürich even took the opportunity during his presentation to advertise a new strategic alliance between SARomics and his company Insili.com.

In June SARomics Biostructures participated in the 2014 BIO International Convention in San Diego in order to identify in-licensing partners for their internal projects and technology, meet with strategic R&D partners and with local companies and research institutions in San Diego. Björn Walse, CEO of SARomics Biostructures noted that “we had a great BIO and identified a number of promising business partners, with whom we are in an ongoing dialogue”. Sten Sörensen, Executive Chairman of the company, added: “Participating in the BIO Partnering Conferences held annually in the US and Europe is an essential and effective strategy for a growth company such as SARomics. The Scandinavian Pavilion and Reception served us well in reaching our objectives in San Diego”.