Proteins are encoded by DNA and they do just about everything needed to sustain life. By modifying proteins, we can modify basically every aspect of life-sustaining activity, including creating life-saving drugs for rare disease patients and others with few options.
A real-life example
Phenylketonuria, also called PKU, is a rare inherited genetic disorder that affects the metabolism of an amino acid called phenylalanine, causing it to build up in the body. Although doctors have been able to test for PKU in newborns for more than 50 years, treatment has been basically limited to dietary alterations, even though untreated PKU can lead to intellectual disability, seizures and mental disorders.
Using our proprietary CodeEvolver® platform of directed evolution, Codexis engineered an active, GI-stable therapeutic enzyme candidate to treat PKU that is administered orally and compensates for the absence of the patient’s missing natural enzyme by removing phenylalanine from the body, solving a problem that has vexed scientists for decades.
The future of biotherapeutics
The biology and biochemistry associated with modern gene therapies become increasingly complex as we understand more about diseases. Codexis’ ability to modify proteins for use directly as a therapeutic, or to enable the synthesis of complex biologic molecules or selectively functionalized antibodies, means that Codexis is uniquely able to assist drug developers in finding new solutions to 21st century challenges.