FP7 and Horizon 2020 project involvement

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Protein kinases are involved in the control of a large number of cellular processes and play a central role in human physiology. More than 500 genes encoding protein kinases have been identified in the human genome, and it is estimated that about 30% of all human proteins may be phosphorylated by kinases. Targeting kinases has become one of the most important therapeutic opportunities for treating cancer, diabetes, inflammatory diseases and more. The TAKTIC project (Translational Kinase Drug Discovery Consortium) brings together the unique and proprietary technologies of three SMEs (ProQinase, Prestwick Chemical SARomics Biostructures) and their knowhow in the field of drug discovery. To this are coupled the extensive expertise in medicinal chemistry, kinase biochemistry and biology of the University of Turin (Depts. of Science and Drug Technology and Medicine and Experimental Oncology) as well as the state-of-the-art high throughput platform for protein expression and crystallization of the Israel Structural Proteomics Centre at the Weizmann Institute of Science. The applied principles and technologies will provide new IP opportunities for the partner SMEs and will help in the design of new strategies in the discovery of inhibitors for novel kinase targets in the treatment of cancer. The project is funded by the EU FP7 program "Research for the Benefit of SME" and coordinated by SARomics Biostructures. See a blog entry describing the state of the project in March 2014...

SARTRIC

Antimicrobial resistance represents a major threat to public health worldwide and is far from being adequately addressed today, as evidenced by the low number of new products in clinical development. The SARTRIC project addresses this deficiency by restoring antibiotic activity through blocking the transcriptional activation of resistance genes with small molecules and thus restoring the efficacy of already marketed drugs. The two partners involved in the project, BioVersys AG (Basel, Switzerland) and SARomics Biostructures AB (Lund, Sweden) will combine their highly complementary technology modules, expertise and resources to drive the drug development process of initial hit molecules towards fully characterized lead molecules that qualify for preclinical testing. Part of the project will be financed by the EU Eureka Eurostars program.

BIOCASCADES

In the H2020 funded project BIOCASCADES, eleven early-stage researchers (PhD students) will investigate the development of sustainable(chemo)enzymatic cascade reactions for the synthesis of optically pure amines and aminoalcohols as pharmaceutical ingredients. The proposed BIOCASCADES project combines different techniques such as biocatalysis, transition-metal catalysis, compartmentalization, protein engineering and reaction engineering in order to develop commercially viable and environmentally benign chemoenzymatic one pot reactions. By avoiding intermediate downstream and purification steps, cascade reactions minimize production costs and decrease energy demand and waste production. They are thus expected to make a major contribution to address one of the main challenges for the European industry, the development of sustainable and efficient production processes under the ‘green chemistry’ philosophy.

The consortium is formed by eight leading academic laboratories in biocatalysis (TU Delft, KTH Stockholm), enzyme discovery (University Greifswald, University Amsterdam), protein engineering (TU Graz, Ruhr-University Bochum) and chemoenzymatic synthesis (University Bielefeld, University Oviedo). They work together with DSM, Europe’s leading chemical company and a network of four innovative SMEs who contribute their expertise in bioinformatics and crystallography (Saromics), enzyme immobilization (Viazym), enzyme production (Enzymicals) and technical-scale biocatalysis (EntreChem). By combining this versatile expertise, the consortium can achieve a success that would not be possible in isolated projects.

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• The Virus-X project will employ sequence-based bioprospecting methodologies combining bioinformatics, functional analysis and structural biology (3D structure determination) to explore metagenomes of viruses in natural ecosystems and the encoded gene products.
•The Virus-X project puts emphasis on developing the metagenomics toolbox creating new toools to strengthen future efforts in the field. This includes new bioinformatics tools for sequence analysis and structure-function analysis of protein families.
•The Virus-X project will enhance the understanding of microbial communities and functional dynamics between viruses and microorganisms. The exploration of viruses in nature focuses on natural ecosystems in the ocean off the coast of Norway and geothermal areas (hot springs) in Iceland.
•Virus-X is a research and development plan ultimately leading to innovations and industrial value in the form of specific marketable products of viral origin, i.e. biocatalysts for biotech applications, as well as improved services in the field of bioinformatics and structural biology.
The project includes 15 academic and industrial partners and is coordinated by
PROKAZYME, ICELAND