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). MIT Technology Review took a look at this breakthrough research.
Scientists have made thousands of new synthetic amino acids in the lab, but it is very difficult to efficiently incorporate them into functional proteins and to do so at scale.
In Synthorx’s platform, special bacteria use our synthetic DNA bases (X and Y) along with A, T, C and G. By introducing X and Y into the genetic code, Synthorx has developed a method for working with 256 codons, which can now be used to add multiple synthetic amino acids into novel proteins.
Synthorx can produce a wide variety of unique proteins that couldn’t otherwise by synthesized using naturally occurring codons alone.
Synthorx’s scientific founder, Floyd Romesberg, said, “The home run is the ability to produce therapeutic proteins.”
We can use this platform to screen through new proteins to discover novel drugs with improved therapeutic potential. We can also add synthetic amino acids to existing proteins to improve function.