Cool Stuff Being Made: Locus Pharmaceuticals

By November 24, 2007Cool Stuff Being Made

locus.jpgThis week’s “Cool Stuff Being Made” video takes us to the frontier of prescription drugs development, the work being done by Locus Pharmaceuticals of Blue Bell, Pennsylvania.

As President and CEO Joseph Reiser, Ph.D. relates in his intoductory comments, Locus operates in the unique world of computational technology, researching and developing new therapeutic drugs via computer design, combining biology, chemistry, math and even physics. From the company’s website:

Our proprietary computational technology rapidly and accurately identifies the biologically relevant active binding site(s) of a protein and simultaneously designs de novo novel, small molecule antagonist or agonists of the protein’s activity utilizing our proprietary fragment data set. Unlike traditional high throughput screening technologies, the Locus process is a de novo fragment-based approach that enables the identification of novel small molecule drug candidates faster and on a larger scale than has previously been possible. Since the Locus technology generates novel molecules, an equally important outcome is the realization of valuable intellectual property.

The U.S. pharmaceutical industry leads the world in developing and manufacturing pharmaceuticals, thanks — among reasons — to its protection of intellectual property rights as well as the ability to price to the market. (Reiser notes the government’s support for Locus’ efforts, as well.) Very valuable to take this 25-minute tour to see all these factors come into play.

And the people, of course. The scientists and their colleagues.

The computer power deployed? Just 2.3 teraflops, produced by 2,000 parallel processors. “We generate the amount of data that Google, for example, handles in one year,” Reiser says in explaining the calculating capacity.

Thanks to our friends at the Pennsylvania Cable Network for this fascinating look at cutting-edge medicine.

To watch this week’s “Cool Stuff Being Made” video, please click here.

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