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Consortium Launched to Increase Knowledge of GPCR Structures

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The GPCR Consortium was launched today with the goal of generating high-resolution pictures of G-protein coupled receptors.

Started by Raymond Stevens, founding director of the iHuman Institute at ShanghaiTech University, the non-profit consortium comprises pharmaceutical firms and research institutes with the goal of advancing GPCR research for drug development. Stevens is also the provost professor of biology and chemistry at the University of Southern California. Michael Hanson is the president of the consortium. According to his LinkedIn profile, he is a director at biopharma firm Receptos.

The consortium will be data-centric, it said, with a focus on disseminating protein structural coordinates, reagents, and supporting data to its members, as well as the broader scientific community. All research outputs, including 3D structures of GPCRs and constructs, will be compiled and placed in the public domain.

The founding industry members are Amgen, Sanofi, and Ono Pharmaceutical. The research will be conducted at the iHuman Institute; the Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences; and USC. Work may also be carried out elsewhere, and the consortium said that it hopes to attract up to five more industry members in order to meet its goal of determining the structures of 200 of the 826 known human GPCRs in disease areas that initially include diabetes, cancer, and mental disorders.

"By working together, we can maximize the impact of our research on human health and disease while providing a means to support early stage basic research and bring together academic and industry scientists in a product working relationship," Stevens said in a statement.