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deCODE biostructures and the Seattle Biomedical Research Institute to Collaborate on Structural Genomics

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deCODE biostructures, Inc., has announced that it has received a five-year, $13.5 million collaborative subcontract from the Seattle Biomedical Research Institute which has been funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, to establish the Seattle Structural Genomics Center for Infectious Diseases (SSGCID).

The SSGCID is a Washington-based consortium including scientists from SBRI, deCODE biostructures (Bainbridge Island), the University of Washington (Seattle), and Battelle Northwest (Richland). With funding from NIAID’s 2007 New Research Initiatives, the SSGCID will generate a collection of experimentally determined structures of protein targets from pathogens causing emerging or re-emerging infectious diseases.

“The protein structures produced by the SSGCID should provide the three-dimensional information needed to facilitate the structure-guided development of new drugs, vaccines and diagnostics to combat deadly infectious diseases,” said Dr. Peter Myler, the Principal Investigator of SSGCID and Member of SBRI.

This mission will be accomplished by employing a high-throughput gene-to-structure pipeline involving a multi-pronged serial escalation approach to protein expression in bacterial, wheat-germ cell-free translation, baculovirus, and mammalian systems followed by structure solution using X-ray crystallography and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy.

Dr. Lance Stewart, President of deCODE biostructures noted that “the SSGCID collaboration will leverage deCODE's platform for high-throughput protein crystal structure determination, from the computer-aided synthetic gene engineering to the determination of high resolution ligand-bound protein X-ray crystal structures.”

SSGCID funding will enable deCODE to more than double its X-ray data collection throughput with the addition of new automated in-house X-ray instruments, and regular access to tunable synchrotron X-ray data collection beamlines.

Target selection by SSGCID collaborators will be managed by SBRI in collaboration with the NIAID, and will be guided by proactive engagement of the infectious disease research and drug therapy communities. This approach to target selection will ensure that the resulting protein structures provide a “blueprint” for structure-based drug design of new therapeutics for infectious disease. This goal will be facilitated by the annual selection of high-impact targets for a fragment-based drug lead discovery campaign within SSGCID.

In this endeavor deCODE biostructures will apply its Fragments of Life™ library technology for fragment-based lead identification to selected well-diffracting crystallized targets of high biomedical relevance. The resulting fragment-bound target co-crystal structures will provide valuable ligand binding information as starting points for structure-based drug discovery. The SSGCID will make its structures freely accessible to the worldwide scientific community through the Protein Data.