Artel and IonGate Join Forces to Advance Drug Discovery Research in North America

Published: Jun 24, 2008

Westbrook, ME (June 24, 2008) – ARTEL and IonGate Biosciences announced their strategic partnership to support the growing application of IonGate’s drug discovery technology. The German biotechnology company will leverage ARTEL’s local infrastructure, customer relationships and market knowledge to increase the exposure and use of its discovery systems and assay development services in North America. The partnership will focus on IonGate’s SURFE2R Technology, which enables more effective research involving drug targets such as membrane transporters and ligand-gated ion channels.

Membrane transport proteins play an important role in numerous biological functions, and have been linked to cardiac, neurologic and metabolic disorders, yet they represent a relatively unexplored segment of the drug discovery market. The previous lack of technology for efficient transporter screening has led pharmaceutical companies to focus the majority of their research initiatives on other targets. Ligand-gated ion channel proteins, while more frequently targeted, typically are also subject to less-than-optimal screening methods. IonGate’s SURFE2R (SURFace Electrogenic Event Reader) Technology represents a significant advance toward more efficient screening of transporters as well as ligand-gated ion channels.

“Transporter-focused drug discovery initiatives are poised for rapid growth worldwide, and the U.S. demand for our SURFE2R Technology is rising,” said Dr. Thiemo Gropp Ph.D., Managing Director, IonGate Biosciences GmbH. “With ARTEL’s support and market expertise, we will be able to deliver the same personalized support to our customers in North America as we deliver to our customers in Europe.”

“We chose ARTEL because of the company’s strong relationships with biopharmaceutical companies, highly skilled staff, and deep understanding of our customers’ needs,” said Wolfgang Lerch, President, IonGate Biosciences Inc. “Our companies’ synergistic cultures and strong customer-focused orientations will allow us to bring an unparalleled combination of excellent service and technology to the drug discovery industry.”

“IonGate and ARTEL share a dedication to high-quality technology and superior customer service. We’re excited to be working with a world class company with such cutting-edge technology,” said Kirby Pilcher, President, ARTEL.

IonGate’s systems are powerful tools for researchers in large pharmaceutical companies as well as academic environments. The systems are valuable for core fundamental testing, early-stage screening, ADME studies, etc., and are able to meet the required throughput. A “label-free” method, SURFE2R provides measurement assays which are more functionally relevant, and hence of higher value, for a growing array of protein targets. The heart of this technology is an electrode biochip which measures the electrical activity of membrane-bound proteins. This activity is observed through measurement of the capacitive charging of the sensor chip by ionic species as they are actively transported across the membrane by the protein targets of interest.

About IonGate Biosciences IonGate Biosciences develops, produces and markets innovative screening technologies to investigate transporters and is the worldwide leader in this new area.

Transporters are essential for the metabolic functions of the cell, information processing in the entire organism, and play a fundamental role in the health of humans. Due to their difficult experimental accessibility, transporters are underrepresented in current drug screening processes. Now, IonGate’s original product, SURFE2R One, is joined by the SURFE2R Workstation 500 to provide highly precise functional screening of transporters in the higher-throughput pharmaceutical discovery and development environments. IonGate provides total system solutions, encompassing disposables and reagents, consulting services which include the design of assays and customized applications, and contract laboratory services.

IonGate Biosciences GmbH is a venture capital financed biotechnology company located in Frankfurt/Main, Germany and Portland, Maine, USA. In addition to the main financier and leading partner Heidelberg Innovation, the KfW holds a stake in IonGate. The company was established in 2000 and currently employs more than 30 staff.


Wolfgang Lerch Managing Director onGate Biosciences GmbH Industriepark Hoechst / Building D528 65926 Frankfurt/Main Germany

phone +49.69.305.85 400 fax +49.69.305.85 444 email web Wolfgang Lerch President IonGate Biosciences Inc. 25 Bradley Drive Westbrook, Maine 04092-2013 USA.

phone: 207.591.6376 fax: 207.591.6377 email web


ARTEL is the worldwide leader in liquid handling quality assurance. The Company’s technology, measurement systems, and value-added services are utilized by lifescience laboratories to maximize productivity and ensure quality. The ARTEL MVS and PCS are the most accurate, precise and easy-to-use systems available, for achieving data integrity in any process requiring liquid handling and volume measurement. Based on proprietary Ratiometric Photometry, these systems conform to ISO 8655-7 and provide NIST-traceable results to produce dependably reproducible data and assure regulatory compliance. ARTEL services include liquid handling quality assurance support and consultation, pipetting technique training and certification for pipette users and laboratory managers, and liquid handler performance verification services for automated laboratories.

Since 1982, ARTEL technology has been proven in daily use in thousands of laboratories including pharmaceutical, clinical, forensic, public health and environmental and research. Leading institutions such as Amgen, ARUP, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Celgene, Centers for Disease Control, DuPont, Eli Lilly, FBI, Genentech, Genomic Health, Mayo Clinic, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Merck, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble and the U.S. FDA depend on ARTEL technology to help them meet their objectives for quality and productivity.

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