Company Press Release

Protéus expands its biodiversity as "Dissemination and Exploitation Manager" of the BIODEEP Consortium.

NIMES, France – November 5, 2001-- Proteus, S.A. announced today that it is part of the BIODEEP (BIOtechnologies from the DEEP) project. Participants to BIODEEP are exploring certain Mediterranean deep hypersaline anoxic basins to discover novel compounds and biodiversity. Proteus has been chosen to be the sole industrial partner for this project which benefits from a grant from the Fifth Framework Program of the European Commission.

Recently, five deep hypersaline anoxic basins (DHABs) have been discovered in the Mediterranean Sea below a depth of 3000 m. They represent unique deep-sea environments which originate from the dissolution of buried salt deposits that are the remains of hypersaline waters of the Miocene period (5.5 millions years before present).

Because of their peculiar conditions, the DHABs are expected to contain novel biodiversity that may offer new models of recycling of recalcitrant organic matter and a new genetic and metabolic diversity. The main challenge of BIODEEP is to characterize the physiology and ecology of the extremophiles microbial communities of the DHABs and their cellular components (DNA, RNA, enzymes, lipids, etc.) or products (osmolites, surfactants etc.) and to identify how their features (novel compounds and activities) can translate into new biotechnologies. Proteus will use its proprietary technology platform for high throughput screening of biodiversity (Phenomics™, CLIPS-O™) and for directed evolution (L-Shuffling™) to speed up the discovery of novel biomolecules.

BIODEEP aims at discovering biomolecules for therapeutical and nutritional applications, for clinical diagnosis purposes as well for industrial applications (biocatalysis). Beside its scientific contribution to BIODEEP, Proteus will act as sole "Dissemination and Exploitation Manager" of the BIODEEP results. Proteus has been chosen because it provides a unique interface for the exchange and transfer of information between the research groups and industry in the European Union.

BIODEEP is coordinated by Prof. C. Corselli of the Italian CoNISMa (Consorzio Nationale Interuniversitario per le Scienze del Mare). BIODEEP gathers the effort of more than ten leading European academic research institutes. Other participants include Institute of Marine Biology of Crete, University of Patras, Department of Geology (EL); Technische Fachhochschule Berlin University of Applied Sciences, Technische Universitat of Berlin, Technical University Braunschweig Institut fur Mikrobiologie (D), the Laboratoire de Microbiologie Marine of Marseille (F) ; Natural Environmental Research Council, Southampton Oceanography Centre, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Essex (UK); University of Utrecht, Faculty of Earth Sciences , Laboratory for Microbial Ecology   Center for Ecological and Evolutionary Studies, University of Groningen (NL); Istituto Sperimentale Talassografico - CNR Messina, TECNOMARE SpA of Venezia (I). http://www.geo.unimib.it/BioDeep/Project.html

Proteus is a leading biotech company discovering and developing novel biomolecules. The company's activities are supported by specialist know-how and a portfolio of proprietary elements. Proteus works in close partnership with major players of the industry.