Bioinformatics skills help Codexis strike $25M deal with GSK

Having applied its bioinformatics-enabled protein engineering platform to fields as diverse as carbon capture and ethanol production, Codexis ($CDXS) strengthened its ties to small molecule synthesis this week through a deal with GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK). The agreement will see GSK pay $6 million upfront and more in milestones to license the platform.

Bioinformatics is a key component of the technology, which uses molecular biology, high-throughput chemistry and computational algorithms to develop custom biocatalysts. Codexis uses the three technologies to sort through the huge number of unique potential biocatalysts that can be made by ordering amino acids in different sequences. Bioinformatics is important for the final steps in this process, with Codexis using algorithms to make sense of the screening data and predictive modeling to forecast the effect on synthesis.

While each part of the system--called CodeEvolver--plays an important role, GSK singled out the computational component as a motivation for striking the deal. "What Codexis has done is crack the massive bioinformatics challenge," Mark Buswell, head of advanced manufacturing technologies at GSK, told FiercePharmaManufacturing. Manually deciding which amino acids to change is very time-consuming. But with a computer doing the heavy lifting, companies can figure out the best sequence of amino acids for particular synthesis steps faster.

To realize these benefits, GSK is installing the platform at its R&D site in Upper Merion, PA, where it will use the tools to find ways to improve production of active pharmaceutical ingredients.

- read FiercePharmaManufacturing's article
- here's the press release
- and company conference call transcript

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