The OptiCryst STREP aims to take a leap forward scientifically and commercially to obtain high-quality crystals of proteins which are proving difficult to crystallise, providing a support platform for Europe's Structural Genomics initiatives that are struggling to deliver structures. Protein crystallisation has gained a new strategic and commercial relevance in the post-genomic era due to its pivotal role in Structural Genomics: producing high-quality crystals has always been a bottleneck to structure determination and this problem is becoming increasingly acute within worldwide initiatives.
This is especially true for challenging therapeutically important proteins that typically do not form suitable crystals. It is clear that the only way to relieve the bottleneck of crystallisation is to focus a concerted effort on the science that underlies it. Research advances in recent years have opened up the scope for development and commercialisation of new tools and methods to adopt this relatively unexplored approach. 7 research-intensive SMEs' from 5 European countries (holding 54.4% of the total budget) and 4 research institutions' scientific expertise will reinforce technological knowledge and the validation of innovative solutions. The SMEs play leading roles and one is the coordinator. Opticryst will capitalise on this momentum and prevent difficult proteins from being consigned to Structural Genomics's 'back burner'.
Opticryst has 2 key objectives: Develop and commercialise new, improved methods and equipment to obtain high-quality crystals of proteins difficult to crystallise; develop a platform for supporting the Structural Genomics initiatives in Europe struggling to deliver the number of structures that was hoped for. In conclusion, OptiCryst is designed to establish a new state-of-the-art in protein crystallisation. Our consortium of commercial and academic partners will give Europe a leading role in an area crucial to improving human health and the economy.'
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