September 16, 2013
Life Sciences Discovery Fund Awards $1.4M to the Institute for Protein Design
September 16, 2013
The Life Sciences Discovery Fund (LSDF) today announced its latest round of Opportunity Grants, and awarded $1.4 M to the University of Washington (UW) to support translational development and commercialization of medically useful designer proteins discovered at the Institute for Protein Design (IPD) in the laboratory of principal investigator Dr. David Baker, the Head of the IPD (Figure 1). The LSDF funding is to be matched by contributions from UW and private donors (donations which can be made here).
Figure #1. Protein designs shown here represent self-assembling nano-particle protein cages that can be used for drug delivery (left), an designed enzyme called KumaMax that is the basis for an oral celiac disease therapy (middle), and a protein designed to bind the cardiac glycoside small molecule digoxigenin (right).
Dr. David Baker commented “The Institute for Protein Design is generating whole new classes of designer proteins with broad application to vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics. We greatly appreciate the tremendous vote of confidence that LSDF has given the IPD, in making this LSDF Opportunity Grant award to support the commercial translation of these assets.”
Entitled “Launch of the Institute for Protein Design for Creating New Therapeutics, Vaccines and Diagnostics,” this LSDF Opportunity Grant Award will enable the IPD to translate protein design discoveries and projects into commercially viable products in collaboration with the Center for Commercialization (C4C) entrepreneurs in residence, the Arthur W. Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship in the Foster School of Business, and the Institute of Translational Health Sciences (Figure 2).
“These Opportunity grants, to two of our state’s top research institutions, will help Washington maintain its leadership position in cancer research and treatment and capitalize upon the outputs of some of our most innovative and productive investigators,” noted LSDF board chair Carol Dahl.
Figure #2 With LSDF funding and matching support from philanthropists, the Institute for Protein Design will be able to convert V1.0 protein designs (Seeds) into V4.0 enhanced versions that have commercial viability (Sprouts) that can be the asset basis for new company formation (Spin Outs). This will be done with the support of C4C, Foster School, ITHS, and other Washington state resources.
Commercialization track record
The IPD has already spawned five spinout companies, disclosed 37 inventions (12 since 2011), applied for 55 patents with six issued to date, and issued 27 commercial and nearly 10,000 academic Rosetta licenses in 94 countries. In addition, ~360,000 Rosetta@home participants who donate idle computer time and ~330,000 registered Foldit (a free protein-folding game) players are helping work out the three-dimensional profile of proteins to accelerate the time from discovery to product.
The power of private support
The LSDF seeks to leverage its investments with significant matching contributions from philanthropic donations which can be made here. Private support will be critical in building the IPD. Investments from visionary philanthropists will have an impact in donors’ lifetimes, while serving as a legacy for future generations of researchers, physicians and patients. You can also help us by installing Rosetta@home to put your idle computer to use for protein design, or by playing Foldit where you and other gamers are cracking important protein folding challenges.
For more information
For more information on the UW Institute for Protein Design, please contact Andrew Welch, Assistant Vice President at UW Medicine Advancement, at 206-616-6464 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your interest in our work.
This article was Authored by Dr. Lance Stewart, Sr. Director of Strategy (email@example.com) at the Institute for Protein Design, with kind input and guidance from UW colleagues, and with the aid of web resources linked throughout this posting.