DGR Technology Platform for Engineering Proteins Advanced in Publication by AvidBiotics Collaborators

South San Francisco, CA (December 15, 2011): AvidBiotics today announced the publication of new findings in PLoS Genetics that could enable genetic machinery used by many bacteria and bacteriophages  to quickly adapt to ever-changing conditions to be harnessed for a variety of protein engineering applications.  The publication by company co-founder Jeff F. Miller, Ph.D. and his colleagues at the University of California, Los Angeles, and AvidBiotics, defines the DNA sequences and structures that allow Diversity Generating Retroelements (DGRs) to mutate DNA sequences to direct changes (“diversification”) at specific locations in a protein molecule.  This technology enables the rapid generation of highly diverse libraries of protein scaffolds for use in the creation of novel therapeutic and prophylactic drugs, diagnostics and binding reagents.

“DGRs offer a competitive advantage to many bacteria and bacteriophages in nature, as they allow them to quickly adapt and survive under challenging conditions,” said Dr. Miller. “The typical DGR can theoretically generate more than 10 trillion diverse genetic sequences at select sites in target genes. Thus, DGRs can potentially be used to generate molecular diversity for protein engineering applications that are not practical with currently available technologies.

“Our new publication not only describes new mechanistic information about DGRs, but it also offers a blueprint for the use of DGRs in protein engineering,” Dr. Miller concluded.

AvidBiotics, which has worldwide rights to the DGR technology, is working  to apply this technology to both its product development platforms, as well as leverage its value through collaborations and licensing arrangements.

The Diversity Generating Retro-element (DGR) System is well suited for a variety of protein engineering applications, offering such advantages as:

  • No need for repeated cycles of cloning and transformation as in phage display
  • Mutagenesis “homes in” on specific amino acid positions of interest, not random ones, in the target protein
  • A host bacterium does all the diversification “naturally”
  • Diversification can be serially and cumulatively repeated without degeneration of the genetic mechanism or the protein scaffold

In addition to providing a tool for use with AvidBiotics’ targeted antibacterial and antiviral/anti-cancer product platforms, the DGR system could be applied to

  • Protein engineering by optimizing or modifying particular sites of interest, applicable to any scaffold
  • Generation of highly specific protein diagnostics to detect most any “analyte”
  • Generation of reagents for product recovery processes
  • Creation of kits and reagents for research laboratory use in protein engineering

About AvidBiotics

AvidBiotics is a developer of novel, non-antibody proteins as targeted therapeutics against bacteria, viral infections and cancers. The scaffolds of AvidBiotics’ proteins exhibit functional potency, e.g. killing, exceeding that of antibodies.  AvidBiotics has two proprietary product platforms. The first is a  new class of tailorable, targeted bactericidal agents for use in the treatment or prevention of specific bacterial infections. The second specifically flags virus-infected or cancerous cells for enhanced destruction by the Natural Killer and T cells of the potent innate immunity system.  AvidBiotics focuses on human therapeutic applications of its technologies, both on its own and in partnership with governmental agencies and research institutions, while taking advantage of further near-term collaborative opportunities offered by specific applications of its products and technology platforms in areas such as food safety, biodefense and animal husbandry.