Tim Craig

Tim Craig

Seattle, WA

I received my Bachelors degrees in both Biochemistry and Neuroscience from Brandeis University in 2004. From there, I went on to receive my PhD in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry from University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, where I studied the molecular mechanisms of neuronal communication using biophysical techniques including NMR, X ray crystallography, microfluidics, and other standard biochemical techniques.

Membrane Protein Project Leader I

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It's not a major driver of the total cost of developing a new medicine, which is on the order of a billion USD. However, these types of licensing agreements can become major obstacles for startup biotechs, startup service businesses (contract research labs that do lab work for other customers), and small cap pharma. Typically patent holders in this area will ask for recurring payments of between $5,000-20,000 annually and royalties of between 5 and 10% on anything the technology was used for. It doesn't seem like much, but if you had to start paying 6 or 7 of those you'd already have quite a bill to settle just to open your doors. This is on top of the already massive costs of starting a biotech (especially compared to tech) due to the requirements of owning or renting very expensive and sensitive laboratory equipment. In addition to the pure cash aspect of drug discovery, there's the issue of time. New drugs take around 10-15 years to develop, 3-6 of those years will be spent in what is called "Drug Discovery", which is the area the vector here would be used in. Check out chapter 4, page 32 for an overview here: http://www.phrma.org/sites/default/files/pdf/PhRMA%20Profile%202013.pdf If a multisystem vector was used during the early stages of DD, I could see it being possible to shave 6 months to a year off of the drug discovery timeline. It would also provide a way to rescue many of the early projects that end up being cancelled due to inability to make the target protein. This last aspect is really important, because there is a serious lack of new targets in drug discovery. Part of the reason for this is risk management, but the other part is that when scientists(in industry) propose new targets, they often only have a few months to demonstrate that the target is viable. These few months can easily be eaten up in protein expression and purification testing.
Jul 13, 2014
Can we simplify protein production?
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Thanks for the note Wiliam. I just put up a lab note in response to your comment! There are already patented systems that allow for expression in 3 systems(pTriEx), which I will be using as a guide (only with IP-free components, and including a couple more features). By replacing the proprietary parts with non-proprietary ones, this vector will allow for a cheaper more streamlined protein expression process. I'm also planning a lab note about what scientists use purified proteins for. The project is really about building a better hammer, so it will be nice to see some of the things that could be built using the hammer!
Jul 12, 2014
Can we simplify protein production?
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