Life Science and Drug Discovery

We understand the complexities of life science research and its application in drug discovery because we have participated in drug discovery projects ourselves and have developed tools that facilitate the reliable communication of research results to participating researchers. As trained protein crystallographers we have first-hand experience with all steps it takes to take a gene and determine its X-ray structure. In collaborative research projects we have contributed to in successful structure determinations that have resulted in IND (investigational new drug) filings. We have published our own research results in more than 40 peer-reviewed journals. In order to improve the design of genes and molecular biology workflow we have developed database applications that have become commercial software products.

Examples of our Expertise

Bioinformatics application

We have architected and developed Gene Composerâ„¢ , an enterprise virtual gene design and cloning software package (1, 2). Gene Composer improves the efficiency in high-throughput protein production and protein characterization laboratories. It facilitates the information-rich design of protein constructs and their codon engineered synthetic gene sequences. Its Alignment Viewer, Construct Design and Gene Design Modules enable a workflow for all common bio-informatics steps used in modern protein and synthetic gene engineering. This software database application has become an indispensable tool for structural genomics centers (1) and contract research organizations to conduct pre-clinical and explorative protein target based research.

Virtual drug discovery

We have generated homology models of G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) and validated these with experimental information. Such models were used for in-silico docking studies to enrich virtual compound libraries. Using these receptor models we also carried out molecular dynamics simulations to generate putative binding poses of early leads to guide the design of optimized ligands.

Contract research organization service

Embedded within a drug discovery organization, we have generated numerous gene-to-structure projects in support of client-side drug discovery efforts. We devised experimental research plans, budgets and contracts for CRO-based protein production and X-ray structure determination work. We have orchestrated the information and sample flow to an executing wet lab organization via software tools that we helped shape. All plans, data and condensed information were prepared for client presentation and we led detailed scientific discussions with medicinal chemists, protein scientists and pharmacologists on the client side.

Other areas of deep insight:

  • Laboratory sample and information workflow analysis
  • Organizational GAP analysis and consultation for scientific and technical improvement
  • Biophysical characterization of protein ligand complexes
  • Membrane protein structural biology and structure based drug discovery
  • Protein engineering, design, expression, production and functional characterization
  • Bioinformatics and research data processing


1. Lorimer et al., Gene Composer in a structural genomics environment Acta Crystallographica F67, 985-991, 2011. Download

2. Lorimer et al., Gene Composer: database software for protein construct design, codon engineering, and gene synthesis. BMC Biotechnology 9:36. 2009 Download