Money will fund antibody mimics discovery and optimization.
Protelica received $500,000 in Phase II SBIR funding from the National Science Foundation for its “Bioinformatics knowledge-based, universal library design for a non-immunoglobulin, protein-scaffold” project. The grant, which is immediately effective, provides $500,000 for the next 24 months and will allow the company to continue developing its platform technology, and fund preclinical studies of its early-stage lead candidates for cardiovascular and cancer therapies.
The project, which started two years ago, includes a bioinformatics-based understanding of nature’s evolutionary rules, and utilizes Protelica’s DNA mutagenesis technologies to develop small, specific, and potent protein blockers. “By understanding how nature evolves its protein binding specificity, we are able to introduce new and intelligent diversity to human protein scaffolds, like Fibronectin sub-units, and generate billions of new variants. We expect this program to lead to the discovery and clinical development of new protein drugs that combine the exquisite specificity of antibodies with the many clinical and manufacturing advantages typical of small molecules,” explains Dr. Guido Cappuccilli, the project’s PI and head of the bioinformatics group.