A-Alpha Bio Awarded NSF Grant to Streamline Cancer Drug Development with Genetically Engineered Yeast

Tuesday, July 24, 2018 Drug News
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The Phase I SBIR grant from the National Science Foundation will be used to commercialize a synthetic biology platform that was developed at the University of Washington's Institute for Protein Design and Center for Synthetic Biology

SEATTLE, July 24, 2018 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- A-Alpha Bio (http://www.aalphabio.com)

announces that it has been awarded a National Science Foundation Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant for $225,000 to develop AlphaSeq: a cell-based platform that will accelerate cancer drug development by enabling high-throughput and quantitative characterization of protein-protein interactions.

Proteins bind to one another, like Lego pieces, to form complex biological machines. In cancer cells, these machines are dysregulated, causing cell-survival and uncontrolled growth. Pharmaceutical companies are developing drugs that kill cancer cells by blocking key protein-protein interactions. However, blocking any of the millions of protein-protein interactions that occur in healthy cells could cause serious side-effects, making specificity a major concern.

"A-Alpha Bio's AlphaSeq technology is a game-changer for preclinical drug screening," said Randolph Lopez, CTO and Co-founder of A-Alpha Bio. "It lets us measure the effect of a drug on thousands of protein-protein interactions simultaneously, instead of having to measure each one individually. Pharmaceutical companies will not have to limit their preclinical testing to a small number of likely off-target effects. With AlphaSeq, they can avoid costly and potentially life-threatening surprises during clinical trials by screening their drugs against whole protein networks"

Protein interactions are already widely recognized as being critically important for the development of many different types of drugs. AlphaSeq provides a unique advantage over existing approaches by combining high accuracy and throughput, which is enabled by advances in the fields of synthetic biology and DNA sequencing. This SBIR grant is aimed at expanding the capabilities of AlphaSeq for screening interactions with challenging proteins and insoluble small molecule drugs. Once completed, A-Alpha Bio will be eligible to apply for a Phase II grant (up to $750,000) for pilot testing and scale-up.

Earlier this year, A-Alpha Bio won the University of Washington's Business Plan Competition.

Media Inquiries: dyounger(at)aalphabio.com Twitter: @aalphabio

About A-Alpha Bio: A-Alpha Bio aims to accelerate target discovery, drug discovery, and preclinical drug characterization by enabling quantitative and massively multiplexed characterization of protein-protein interactions. They are developing AlphaSeq, a platform technology that measures protein interactions by quantifying interactions between cells displaying proteins on their surfaces. Based in Seattle, WA, A-Alpha Bio was founded in 2017 by a team of synthetic biologists and protein scientists from the University of Washington's Institute for Protein Design and Center for Synthetic Biology. The company's mission is to accelerate drug development with synthetic biology and DNA sequencing tools.


SOURCE A-Alpha Bio

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