THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. and SEATTLE, June 19, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) and the University of Washington's Institute for Protein Design (IPD), which is revolutionizing its field of science by creating custom-designed proteins from scratch to improve human health, today announced a broad collaboration that will cover multiple projects with a goal of testing new technologies and creating protein-building approaches that can be broadly applied to the search for new medicines.
Under the terms of the agreement, Amgen has provided initial funding for three sponsored research projects that will seek to apply IPD's de novo design technique to increase the versatility of traditional protein-based medicines. This will include optimizing Amgen's repertoire of BiTE® (bispecific T cell engager) antibodies, with the goal of expanding the types of tumors that can be targeted with these molecules. IPD's expertise could also help Amgen to generate antibodies against very challenging drug targets and to devise new ways to modulate the activity of the immune system. In the longer-term, the broad-based collaboration could help shape the discovery and development of protein-based therapies.
"We're at a technology transition point from modifying what exists in nature, which has been the traditional approach to protein engineering, to using first principles to build proteins from scratch to have exactly the properties you want," said David Baker, the Henrietta and Aubrey Davis Endowed Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Washington School of Medicine, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, and the founder and director of IPD. "We can now design proteins that have specific functions, and that is where our work starts tying into medicine, and why we are very excited to be working with Amgen."
"We want to work with IPD in an open-ended way to try to solve some of the most intractable problems that we face in designing effective medicines," said Raymond Deshaies, Ph.D., senior vice president of Global Research at Amgen. "This is a broad collaboration that will cover multiple projects, and we are hoping to build strong working relationships among scientists on both sides. The goal isn't just to solve a few specific problems but to create approaches that can be applied very generally across a large suite of problems."
About the Institute for Protein Design
The Institute for Protein Design, founded in 2012 at UW Medicine in Seattle, is a non-profit research center that creates custom-designed proteins to improve human health and address 21st-century challenges in energy, industry and technology. Proteins are essential molecules that perform vital functions inside every cell of the human body. Proteins also have applications outside the body, including as diagnostic tools, advanced nanomaterials, and more. The Institute's team of 140 faculty, staff, postdoctoral fellows and graduate students together work to design entirely novel proteins from scratch to create, for example, safer and more potent vaccines and therapeutics. The institute has assembled top experts in biochemistry, computer science, pharmacology, immunology and other basic sciences, as well as clinical medicine. In 2019, the Institute for Protein Design was selected as part of The Audacious Project, a successor to the TED Prize.
For more information, visit www.ipd.uw.edu.
Amgen is committed to unlocking the potential of biology for patients suffering from serious illnesses by discovering, developing, manufacturing and delivering innovative human therapeutics. This approach begins by using tools like advanced human genetics to unravel the complexities of disease and understand the fundamentals of human biology.
Amgen focuses on areas of high unmet medical need and leverages its biologics manufacturing expertise to strive for solutions that improve health outcomes and dramatically improve people's lives. A biotechnology pioneer since 1980, Amgen has grown to be the world's largest independent biotechnology company, has reached millions of patients around the world and is developing a pipeline of medicines with breakaway potential.
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CONTACT: Amgen, Thousand Oaks
Jessica Akopyan, 805-447-0974 (media)
Kristen Davis, 805-447-3008 (media)
Arvind Sood, 805-447-1060 (investors)
CONTACT: The Institute for Protein Design (IPD), Seattle
Ian Haydon, 530-613-5955 (media)