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Last summer researchers announced they had completed a rough draft of the human genome. Now the challenge is to sort out this new information so it can be put to use in battling disease. Proteins are the missing link between the genetic code and the disease process. Europe has promising companies in the emerging area of prote-omics, the study of proteins. Other European companies are first to market in developing new classes of drugs.

Private company based in Allschwil, Switzerland
CEO: Jean-Paul Clozel
What it does: Develops drugs that act on the endothelium, a layer of cells lining blood vessels that acts as a selective barrier between the bloodstream and surrounding tissue
Why it is hot: It will be the first to get a new class of cardiovascular drugs to market

Cambridge Antibody Technology (CAT)
Public company based in Mel-bourn, Cambridgeshire, England
CEO: David Chiswell
What it does: Develops fully human antibodies for a range of diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis and autoimmune disorders
Why it is hot: A leader in the development of human monoclonal antibodies, CAT is applying its technology platform in the field of functional genomics to assist the discovery of new drugs

Oxford GlycoSciences
Public company based in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, England
CEO: Michael Louis Kranda
What it does: OGS has combined its industry-leading work in proteomics, the comprehensive study of proteins, with genomics to develop a novel platform for drug discovery
Why it is hot: One of the first to figure out a way to stabilize and study very small quantities of proteins and then map backward to a disease

PowderJect Pharmaceuticals
Public company based in Oxford, England
CEO: Paul Drayson
What it does: Replaces needles by delivering vaccines and drugs in a dry powder form via a specially designed nozzle into the outer layers of the skin
Why it is hot: The company is developing products in several fields, including dna vaccines, which offer the potential of new immunotherapeutics to treat such diseases as hepatitis B, AIDS and cancer

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