Prosel Biosciences is a new biotech start-up company based in New Mexico that has developed Selenoexpress™ – a selenoprotein engineering and expression platform in recombinant green algae. Prosel uses the Selenoexpress™ platform to design, express and produce high-value industrial enzymes and cGMP-grade human therapeutic proteins that have greater catalytic activity and stability. The Selenoexpress™ platform achieves this by incorporating selenocysteine – the 21st amino acid – as a functional analogue for catalytic cysteine, threonine or serine residues in many proteins imparting enhanced chemical properties. Selenocysteine has a more physiological ionization potential, and is a stronger nucleophile than cysteine. Prosel has found that when replacing cysteine with selenocysteine in active sites of many enzymes, this can result in increases (100- to 500-fold) in catalytic activity, stability, and yields. In addition, pairs of selenocysteine residues can form bonds that stabilize the protein structures. This increases their lifetimes and stress tolerance.
Why are Prosel industrial enzymes better than what is currently on the market? Industrial enzymes such as proteases used for biomass conversion, biofilm surface cleaning and food processing suffer from slow rates of catalysis and a low tolerance to harsh environments, for example pH and temperature. They are often too expensive to produce via chemical synthesis at commodity scale. Furthermore, limited molecular tools are available to improve enzyme kinetics and stability in situ – until now.
Prosel’s new industrial enzyme for biomass conversion, Pro-7384, expressed from the Selenoexpress™ solves many of the inherent problems with commodity-scale production of industrial enzymes. Production of industrial enzymes from recombinant green algae, due to the energetic inputs of ionic salts, water and light reduce the cost of good solds significantly and the molecular modifications made via the Selenoexpress™ platform will result in functional enzymes which are more tolerant to harsh environments and have increased rate of catalysis.
Prosel Biosciences was founded by CSO Dr. Richard Sayre, Director of Protein Design, Dr. Wataru Nishima and CEO, Zach Hall. Dr. Sayre brings decades of experience in the algal space to the team with relevant experience genetically modifying green algae to express recombinant products from proprietary strains of green algae (Chlamydomonas reinhardtii). Dr. Nishima is a world-class expert in computational bioinformatics, protein design, and molecular modeling. Mr. Hall has worked for the Off-shore Membrane Enclosures for Growing Algae project (OMEGA), a NASA-funded project, and co-founded Immusoft a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing a novel gene-modified cell-based therapeutic. The Prosel team was founded by seasoned entrepreneurs with experience leading successful start-up companies – this is Dr. Sayre’s 6th biotechnology start-up, and Mr. Hall’s 3rd biotechnology start-up.
And how are Prosel’s therapeutics better than current human therapeutic proteins? Therapeutic proteins, such as, recombinant fusion proteins have limited therapeutic efficacy due to short in vivo half-life. Most protein therapeutic FDA-approved drugs – “biologics” require routine intravenous injection to maintain therapeutically-relevant concentrations of the drug in the bloodstream. Furthermore, clinical-grade manufacturing of protein therapeutic drugs is expensive and requires extensive regulatory oversight and standards to enable scalable manufacturing to meet global demand and distribution.
Prosel’s first human therapeutics drug candidate, Pro-756, treats a known cardiovascular indication with global demand and a market cap >$20B USD. Selenoprotein engineering via chemical synthesis of this drug candidate has already been shown to increase the stability of the human protein 4-fold. This will translate into increased in vivo efficacy per patient dose and possibly reduce the need for cold-chain storage of this drug – a major win for deployment of this drug product to developing nations. Combined with the reduced cost of goods sold, Pro-756, is poised to become a blockbuster pharmaceutical drug product, which can pay big dividends to PRosel shareholders and patients in need of this treatment.
Prosel Biosciences has world class expertise in molecular modeling and genetic engineering to successfully express recombinant selenoproteins from green algae. To learn more about this company and their selenoprotein engineering and expression platform see their website at https://proselbio.com/.