Article in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences illustrates use of SILCS mapping technology to improve treatments for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

December 14, 2022, Baltimore, MD – SilcsBio, a technology company that develops and markets software and services for structure-based drug design, today announced its Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Alexander D. MacKerell Jr., PhD, has co-led a study focusing on improving respiratory treatments via SilcsBio’s Site Identification by Ligand Competitive Saturation (SILCS) technology.

The study published in the article, “In silico identification of a β2-adrenoceptor allosteric site that selectively augments canonical β2AR-Gs signaling and function,” appears in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). MacKerell is the Grollman-Glick Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Director of the Computer-Aided Drug Design (CADD) Center at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy.

In the PNAS article, MacKerell illustrates the use of SILCS in enabling identification of new drug candidates based on allosteric modulation to mitigate common adverse side effects and tolerance issues with medicine in inhalers to treat lung conditions such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Via SILCS, MacKerell and coworkers successfully analyzed 3D structures of the β2AR protein, a GPCR that impacts bronchoconstriction, to discover a new allosteric site and compounds targeting that site that have the potential to alleviate the adverse effects of drugs currently on the market.

“Alex’s use of SilcsBio’s SILCS mapping technology to identify drug candidates with the potential to improve asthma and COPD treatments is potentially groundbreaking because it can be applied to a range of other conditions,” said Ken Malone, CEO of SilcsBio. “Ultimately, Alex’s work demonstrates the power of SILCS technology to enable pharmaceutical companies to address – more rapidly than ever – a number of urgent, challenging medical conditions.”

Under Dr. MacKerell’s leadership, SilcsBio has built expertise in structure-based drug design, MD simulations and computational drug discovery for pharmaceutical companies and research organizations in need of computer-aided drug design services and support.

Last March, Dr. MacKerell was awarded the American Chemical Society (ACS) 2022 Award for Computers in Chemical and Pharmaceutical Research for his profound impact in the fields of biomolecular simulations and computer-aided drug discovery.

In addition, SilcsBio last year was awarded a $1,760,531 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This NIH award, titled “Computational methods for optimized biologics formulation,” will enable SilcsBio to continue its work developing a rational formulation design technology using the SILCS computational method to allow screening of a large number of excipient/buffer combinations to accelerate and improve biopharmaceutical development.

About SilcsBio:
SilcsBio, LLC offers the SILCS platform technology that advances computational drug design applications through detailed protein mapping that accounts for flexibility and solvation and enables highly efficient ligand binding evaluation, virtual screening, and more. SilcsBio software and services span from target protein mapping and analysis through lead optimization and offers key insights for biological therapeutic formulations. The proprietary software unlocks hidden binding hotspots of target proteins and reveals the preferred ligand chemistries at those sites to rapidly guide the drug design process. SilcsBio most recently announced a partnership with Aikido Pharmaceuticals. Learn more:

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