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Dec 19, 2007

deCODE to Coestablish the Seattle Structural Genomics Center for Infectious Diseases with $13.5M Award

  • deCODE biostructures received a five-year, $13.5 million collaborative subcontract from the Seattle Biomedical Research Institute (SBRI) to establish the Seattle Structural Genomics Center for Infectious Diseases (SSGCID). 

    SSGCID, which will include scientists from SBRI, deCODE, the University of Washington, and Battelle Northwest, hopes to generate a collection of experimentally determined structures of protein targets from pathogens causing emerging or re-emerging infectious diseases.

    “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,” says Lance Stewart,  Ph.D., president of deCODE biostructures.

    The SSGCID funding will also 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, reports the company.

    SSGCID will annually select high-impact targets for a fragment-based drug-lead discovery campaign within the center. 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 cocrystal structures will provide ligand binding information as starting points for structure-based drug discovery.

    The SSGCID says that it will make its structures freely accessible to the worldwide scientific community through the Protein Data Bank.

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Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

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