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Compugen and Tel Aviv University discovered a unique prediction method

Already during the research, hundreds of new proteins were discovered

Compugen and Tel Aviv University announced today the joint development of a new method for predicting the important biological phenomenon called alternative splicing. Already during the research, hundreds of new proteins were discovered that are now in the initial stages of evaluation and testing for their possible addition to the company's database of therapeutic and diagnostic proteins. The study published in the journal Genome Research is the result of a collaboration between Compugen scientists and professors Ron Shamir and Gil Est from Tel Aviv University.

The new method announced today is based on computer learning algorithms that reflect Compugen's deep understanding of alternative splicing processes. The two currently accepted methods for identifying alternative splicing rely on the analysis of laboratory experimental data of ESTs (Expressed Sequence Tags) or the results of experiments on DNA chips (microarrays). These methods are based on only a sample of the alternative splicing present in the genome, and therefore are not able to predict a significant part of the variety of proteins that are created by alternative splicing. In contrast, the newly developed method, based on comparative genomics, can accurately predict alternative splicing based solely on a comparison between human and mouse DNA.

Using the model developed by CompuGen scientists in collaboration with Professors Shamir Vast, more than three hundred new splice variants have been predicted so far. And all this in the initial application of the computerized learning model. Hundreds more new variants are expected to be discovered in future applications of the model.

"This development is another example of the unique research carried out at Compugen that combines unique forecasting and prediction models with laboratory experiments, as opposed to conventional experimental methods. The use of the alternative splicing model has already increased the collection of proteins with potential for therapeutic and diagnostic applications beyond what was possible using Compugen's LEADS system based on ESTs data," says Mor Amitai, president of Compugen. "Thus, we anticipate that this discovery will allow us to practically narrow the knowledge gap between the human genome and all human proteins by providing us with a more complete picture of the splice variants that exist. "

Amitai adds that this discovery, together with an improved understanding of other important biological phenomena, allows Compugen to continue to improve the computational platform and discovery engines that provide the company with the basis for discovering diagnostic and therapeutic products.

"This fascinating development is the result of a joint research project between Tel Aviv University and Compugen," says Yitzhak Kohlberg, president of Ramot Lid Tel Aviv University Ltd., the company for implementing technologies developed at the university. "This is an example of a unique collaboration between the university and industry that benefits the basic research carried out at the university as well as applied research carried out in industry and will ultimately lead to prolonging life and improving the health of patients around the world."

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