The Pistoia Alliance AbVance Project Reaches a Key Milestone with First Release of Antibody Structures into the Protein Data Bank

From Drug Discovery Today - November 9, 2017

The Pistoia Alliance, a global, not for profit alliance that works to lower barriers to innovation in life sciences R&D has announced today that its project to increase knowledge of antibody (Ab) structures has reached its first major milestone12 antibody structures have been deposited into the European Bioinformatics Institutes (EMBL-EBI) Protein Data Bank (PDB). The goals of the project are to generate novel Ab structures and improve Ab structural data sharing across the life sciences. This will increase researchers predictive power and their ability to accurately model Ab structures; considerably reducing the time and cost associated with generating experimental data to support decision-making in drug projects.

Humans are capable of producing 10 billion distinct Ab molecules, and currently there are only about 3,000 Ab structures in the public domain. Thus, considerable gaps still exist in our structural understanding of a typical human Ab repertoire, commented Dr. Richard Norman, Project Manager. This data is fundamental in drug discovery and we need to close this gap in our knowledge, which is why the Pistoia Alliance AbVance Project is of particular importance.

The availability of accurate Ab structural information is key to the design of high quality candidates during the discovery of biologic drugs. At present, when this information is missing, researchers have two main options to generate the data. The first is to experimentally determine the Abs 3D structure, which is usually done by X-Ray crystallographythis option is resource intensive, costly and is not guaranteed to work. The second is to generate a model using an existing Ab structure from the PDB as a templatethis option is fast and cost effective, but relies on the template structure having a high degree of similarity to the unknown structure to ensure accurate results. Due to the current gaps in our understanding of Ab structures, this accuracy cannot always be achievedresulting in companies not pursuing particular avenues of research.

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