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DNASTAR Awarded Antibody Engineering Software SBIR Grant

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DNASTAR® has announced that it has received a Phase II SBIR grant award from the National Institutes of Health entitled, “Structural bioinformatics software for epitope selection and antibody engineering”.

This is the second phase of a project for which the first phase concluded in 2013, resulting in the creation of a new epitope prediction algorithm incorporated in DNASTAR’s Lasergene 12 software.

In the second phase of the project, the company will build on that work to support modeling of antibody interactions with antigens and a wide range of molecular interactions for use in medical research and many other fields.

Dr. Steve Darnell, the Principal Investigator for the project, said, "In this project, we intend to create a software pipeline to aid users’ ability to determine epitopes and model their binding to specific antibodies, supporting major advancements in drug discovery for human health, animal health and related research. The foundation of our project will be NovaFold®, DNASTAR’s protein structure prediction software program; Protean 3D, our molecular visualization and analysis software program; plus new molecular docking software. Our plan is consistent with the path we’ve always followed at DNASTAR: providing easy-to-use, effective software solutions to a broad range of life scientists to help them solve the critical problems they face where and when they need them.”

Tom Schwei, Vice President and General Manager of DNASTAR, commented, “We are very pleased to receive this grant award and it could not have come at a better time for DNASTAR and for protein scientists. We are in the middle of our work on a fast-track NIH grant project to improve the accuracy of NovaFold to achieve high resolution in silico structure predictions. As that project progresses, we will be able to incorporate the improved NovaFold results directly into this epitope prediction and antibody engineering pipeline. This new funding will help us continue to diversify our product line from genetics and genomics, which have been the core of our business for the past 30 years, into more protein-focused domains, which are critical to enhancing biologists’ understanding of a wide range of organisms and internal biological mechanisms. We look forward to completing this project and dramatically advancing the state of the art in virtual epitope mapping and antibody engineering.”