April 2, 2013
Emerald Bio, the protein resource, provides biochemists and other scientists new power and freedom to create unlimited types of protein purification methods for drug discovery using its new ProteinMaker™ 2.0 software. The new software is a free, downloadable upgrade for existing users with a service contract. It is installed in all new ProteinMaker™ instruments.
“Customers now have full control over all hardware components, so they can either follow our successful pre-loaded protocols, or easily set up their own with an unlimited number of steps,” said Laura Sailor, Emerald Bio’s vice president of marketing and sales. “Imagination is their limitation.”
Emerald Bio’s latest ProteinMaker™ software has a simulation mode that lets researchers invent, test, edit and archive new protein purification methods. In addition, the software upgrade includes Emerald Bio’s innovative methods library. Besides enabling full control over the instrument’s syringe pumps, valves and robotic XYZ gantry, the new software upgrade gives scientists the ability to pause any process whenever they want. The instrument easily adapts to a user’s unique needs.
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March 26, 2013
A NASA image shows the SpaceX capsule Dragon being snagged by an arm of the International Space Station this month.
From http://www.bostonglobe.com on March 25, 2013:
A Bedford biotech company is going a long way in the search for lifesaving drugs: 240 miles straight up.
Emerald BioSystems Inc. is part of team of researchers using the low-gravity atmosphere of the International Space Station to develop a more complete understanding of the intricate structure of proteins, which in turn would give drug makers more insight into treating diseases.
“Name a disease, and a protein is involved,” said Cory Gerdts, Emerald Bio’s instrument systems product manager. To create new drugs, “you have to understand what the proteins involved in causing that disease or curing that disease are doing.”
The experiment involves turning proteins into crystals, which allows scientists to make extremely detailed three-dimensional images of a protein’s structure.
March 19, 2013
From Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News - March 14, 2013
A series of experiments on board the International Space Station (ISS) is expected to shed light on whether protein crystals grown in microgravity can offer insights that will someday help researchers on earth in developing new drugs.
Using microfluidic protein crystallization technology developed by Emerald Bio, two researchers set up some 5,000 crystallization experiments set to unfold within the ISS, now orbiting 240 miles above the earth. The experiments are designed to yield new knowledge about the structure and function of the proteins, though the research has not focused on a particular target or drug.
“The idea is to have a platform by which any investigator working on disease X or Y can have more way to try to get that little bit more of resolution in their protein structure that they need, to get the information they need to go the next step down the road in their drug discovery or research effort,” Cory J. Gerdts, Ph.D., instrument systems product manager with Emerald Bio, told GEN.
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March 13, 2013
Spacecraft Dragon carrying Emerald Bio's CrystalCards rockets into space.
Image by Craig Bailey, Florida Today
The frontier of biomedical research is in a low orbit above the Earth this month. Emerald Bio scientist Cory Gerdts, Ph.D. and The Methodist Hospital Research Institute biochemist Carl Carruthers on behalf of NanoRacks, LLC are trying to learn if protein crystals grown in microgravity will help researchers on Earth create drugs that better fight diseases.
Twenty-five of Emerald Bio’s CrystalCards containing more than 5,000 protein crystallization experiments were among more than a ton of research materials and other supplies ferried to the International Space Station March 1st by the commercial spacecraft Dragon operated by SpaceX.
A problem threatened the flight only nine minutes after its liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Pressurized helium lines to its three of its four thrusters became clogged. Once unjammed, the unmanned Falcon 9 rocket safely reached the space station 240 miles above Earth Sunday, March 3, 2013.
Leading protein resource Emerald Bio, headquartered in Bedford, Massachusetts was selected and financed by NanoRacks of Houston, Texas to make the space station’s unique microgravity environment available to crystallography researchers. Since 2009, NanoRacks has offered scientists commercial opportunities to use the U.S. National Lab on space station for education and industry research. Its current signed customer pipeline of more than 80 payloads including domestic and international educational institutions, research organizations and government organizations, has propelled NanoRacks into a leadership position in understanding the emerging commercial market for low‐earth orbit experiments.
At Emerald Bio’s Bainbridge Island (Seattle) laboratory before liftoff, Carruthers, who also writes the Houston Chronicle blog Protein Wrangler and Gerdts, Emerald Bio’s instrument systems product manager, used the Emerald Bio’s microfluidic protein crystallization technology to set up an estimated 5,000 crystallization experiments. The CrystalCards were filled using Emerald Bio’s Plug Maker™ instrument and then they were flash frozen in liquid nitrogen (between -196C and -210C) to halt protein crystal nucleation.
“Working in microgravity to set up experiments is difficult,” Gerdts said. “The process of setting up experiments on CrystalCards in advance and flash freezing them reduces the risk of experiments failing and lets us try thousands more crystal-growing experiments in space than ever before.”
Growing protein crystals to learn the intricacies of their structure and function is an early step toward creating new drugs that can improve human health.
“We selected Emerald Bio precisely because their hardware and procedures are industry standards,” said Michael Johnson, NanoRacks’ chief technology officer. “It’s time to move beyond space-unique hardware where possible.”
On the space station, astronauts will place the Emerald Bio CrystalCards in NanoRacks’ Crystal-NanoLab to thaw so their nucleation and crystallization behavior resumes in microgravity. Once thawed, these CrystalCards will be maintained at 24 C, the ambient temperature of the space station. During the two-month mission, astronauts will twice record still and moving images of protein crystallization using off-the-shelf, digital, universal serial bus (USB) microscope provided by NanoRacks. The images will be transmitted directly to NanoRacks and shared with Carruthers and Gerdts for review. While low resolution, the microscope offers sufficient image clarity to determine if crystal growth is present. Another 25 matching CrystalCards with an estimated 5,000 experiments remain on Earth as controls.
“We’re trying to determine if better quality protein crystals can be grown in the absence of gravity than on earth,” Gerdts said. “Microgravity of the space station offers us an unadulterated situation that may improve the quality of protein crystals, which in turn we hope pushes the frontier of drug discovery.”
Emerald Bio’s CrystalCards are optimized for success because they allow researchers to vary the concentrations and percentages of a protein, the buffer and the precipitate for the growth of a single protein on a single card. Each card requires only 4uL of one protein, and can accommodate from 400 to 800 variations of crystal growth conditions.
While Spacecraft Dragon is scheduled to return to Earth March 25, returning investigation samples are currently scheduled to return to Russia on Soyuz TMA-07M in May. Once landed, Emerald Bio’s CrystalCards will be returned to NanoRacks in about 24 hours. Determining the results of the experiments will take several months.
“Crystals have been grown in space before but never on this scale,” Gerdts said. “Our goal is to demonstrate the feasibility of biomedical research in microgravity and offer the drug-discovery community the opportunity to participate in advancing medicine in space.”
NanoRacks plans to offer crystallography researchers that opportunity again when SpaceX 4 lifts off in April 2014. NanoRacks will be working with the Center for the Advancement of Science (CASIS) and Emerald Bio to alert government and industry researchers to this new opportunity.
Biochemist Carl Carruthers on behalf of NanoRacks and Cory Gerdts, Ph.D., Emerald Bio’s instrument systems product manager, (right) preparing CrystalCards for space
January 30, 2013
Leading protein resource Emerald Bio will highlight its capabilities for accelerating drug discovery and reducing risks during the Biophysical Society’s 57th annual meeting Feb. 2 to 6 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, Booth 818.
Darren Begley, Ph.D., leads Emerald Bio’s biophysics core laboratory, and as part of the team will provide insights into nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, fragment-based drug lead discovery and development, protein expression, protein purification, and X-ray crystallography.
January 21, 2013
Emerald Bio, the leading protein resource, will showcase top techniques and tools addressing the drug-discovery industry’s challenge of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of protein purification during Cambridge Healthtech Institute’s 12th annual PepTalk Jan. 21 to 25 at the Palm Springs Convention Center, Palm Springs, California at Booth 124.
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January 8, 2013
BioBlocks, Inc., an emerging leader in fragment-based lead discovery, and Emerald Bio, a protein and structural biology service provider, are working together to streamline clients’ access to expertise that will accelerate lead discovery and generate high-quality, small-molecule drugs in a cost effective manner.
BioBlocks’ Leap-to-Lead™ platform joined with Emerald Bio’s biophysical screening and structural biology capabilities, which use co-crystallization, nuclear magnetic resonance and other methodologies, provides clients with extensive, fully integrated, fragment-based, target-to-lead generation services.
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November 27, 2012
Emerald Bio, the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and the University of Oxford announce that the parties have entered into a strategic partnership providing Emerald Bio with the exclusive rights to commercialize PiMS technology in the life sciences. Furthermore, the partnership includes additional collaboration and development efforts to continue to provide software innovations to the protein science community.
PiMS, the first protein-centric laboratory information management system, is the culmination of seven years of development to create a solution that addresses the complexity of data management unique to molecular biology environments in protein production laboratories. PiMS manages information about targets, constructs, protocols, experiments and samples within the protein production workflow.
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November 19, 2012
The Seattle Structural Genomics Center for Infectious Disease and the Center for Structural Genomics of Infectious Diseases announced today they will receive up to $52.4 million over five years, from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health. For the first year, the centers will receive a total of approximately $9.1 million. The contracts will support the centers’ continuing research into new drugs, vaccines and diagnostics to combat deadly emerging or re-emerging infectious diseases. The funding is a renewal of NIAID contracts first received by the two centers in 2007, and depending on contract options, could total $52.4 million. The collaboration between the Seattle Structural Genomics Center for Infectious Disease (SSGCID) and the Center for Structural Genomics of Infectious Diseases (CSGID) is aimed at state-of-the-art structural genomics technologies to characterize the three-dimensional structures of proteins from more than 40 bacterial, protozoan and viral pathogens. Among the pathogens studied are those responsible for the plague, anthrax, salmonellosis, cholera, tuberculosis (TB), leprosy, amoebic dysentery and influenza.
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November 8, 2012
The molecular structure of a SOMAmer™ (Slow Off-rate Modified Aptamer) reagent bound to its specific protein has been revealed for the first time by a team of scientists from Emerald Bio and SomaLogic in a manuscript published online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS). These structural studies demonstrate the molecular uniqueness of SOMAmer reagents, explain their unparalleled protein binding capabilities, and underline their therapeutic and diagnostic applications. Their analyses demonstrate the molecular basis for the vast improvement in protein binding by SOMAmers as compared to traditional aptamers, emphasizing that SOMAmers represent an entirely new class of molecular “affinity reagents” with multiple useful applications in life sciences and medicine.
The PNAS article, entitled “Unique Motifs and Hydrophobic Interactions Shape the Binding of Modified DNA Ligands to Proteins Targets” by D.R. Davies et al., can be found at: http://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1213933109
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