Synthorx co-founder, Floyd Romesberg, Ph.D. and colleagues have created a single-cell organism that can stably maintain a synthetic DNA base pair. The research was published in PNAS.The genetic code for almost all life uses four DNA “letters” (A, T, G, C). These letters are arranged into genes that encode proteins that carry out most of life’s functions. Adding two more letters to expand the genetic alphabet can be used to make novel proteins for new therapeutics.
The San Diego Union-Tribune explains: These proteins can have properties that natural proteins don’t have, making them potentially useful for drugs. By making these proteins in a living organism, the cost can be greatly reduced over chemical manufacturing.
In August 2015, Synthorx announced that we made the first full-length proteins incorporating multiple novel amino acids using our expanded genetic alphabet technology (read the press release here).Synthorx is applying the Expanded Genetic Alphabet Technology as a drug development platform to change the properties of new and existing drugs. These properties could affect how tightly drugs bind to their targets and their duration of action and could make new, improved therapies.