NEW YORK, Feb 8 - Structural Genomix said Thursday it reached an agreement with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to determine the structure of a protein, cystic fibrosis transmembrane regulator, which is involved in causing cystic fibrosis.
" CF scientists have attempted to determine the structure of the CFTR protein, but without a lot of success. The CF Foundation thinks that Structural Genomix will bring new cutting edge technologies to the problem, and hopefully accomplish this difficult task," Robert Beall, CEO of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, said in a statement.
Under the terms of the five-year deal, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation will give $11 million to Structural Genomix in research funding and will pay additional milestone and royalty payments.
Structural Genomix, which employs x-ray crystallography to determine protein structures, will study sequence variations in the CFTR gene across species to determine the x-ray structure of the protein. A defective gene that codes for the CFTR protein causes the development of a thick mucus that damages airways and the digestive tract and leads to a host of infectious diseases.
The company said that no 3-D structure of CFTR currently exists.
Structural Genomix of San Diego and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation hope that by understanding the structure of CFTR, drug makers will be able to develop new compounds and therapies for cystic fibrosis.