Launch of the Institute for Protein Design for creating new therapeutics, vaccines and diagnostics


To create an institute that will translate protein design discoveries and projects into commercial products

Anticipated Impact: 

Innovative therapeutic drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics that will tackle existing and emerging challenges in biology


This grant, in conjunction with University of Washington (UW) and private donors, will create the Institute for Protein Design. This translational institute will develop and commercialize discoveries from the laboratory of David Baker. Rosetta software and the distributed computing project Rosetta@home originated in Dr. Baker’s laboratory and are part of the laboratory’s history of innovation in computation design and analysis of proteins. Two candidate Translational Projects and their Translational Investigators have been identified - a dietary additive to destroy the proteins that cause celiac disease, and a partially defined protein design project. Two additional Projects and Investigators would be identified in the next two years. UW has committed to $1.4M in immediate leverage, including the hiring of three new tenure-track faculty, and has committed to raising up to $4M from private donors.

Protein Design for Drugs, Vaccines, and Diagnostics

Grant Update

Principal Investigator:
David Baker
Grantee Organization:
University of Washington
Grant Title:
Launch of the Institute for Protein Design for creating new therapeutics, vaccines and diagnostics
Grant Cohort and Year:
2013 Opportunity (05)
Grant Period:
04/01/2014 - 03/31/2019 (Active)
Grant Amount:
The Institute for Protein Design has initiated five LSDF funded translational research projects that are being supported by LSDF Opportunity Grant funding together with generous matching funds from philanthropists, the Washington Research Foundation, and the University of Washington. The KumaMax project is directed at the development of an enzyme named KumaMax which can efficiently break down gluten in the acidic environment of the stomach before it can reach the small intestine. KumaMax is a candidate oral enzyme therapy for celiac disease. The Cyrus Bio project is directed at the development of user-friendly software interfaces that enable delivery of the powerful Rosetta protein modeling and design software as a service run on the cloud. The Cyrus technology will enable the opening of new commercial markets to utilization of the Rosetta software for applications in material science, medicine, and clean technology. The Fc Binder project is developing a new protein purification matrix which can bind in a pH-dependent manner to the Fc immunoglobulin constant region of antibodies, enabling a new way to purify antibodies as an alternative to standard Protein A methods. The Flu Binder project is developing a new intranasal anti-flu virus protein therapy which could be taken as a therapeutic at the onset of flu symptoms or as a prophylactic in the case of a pandemic flu outbreak. The Small Molecule Binder project is developing optimized versions of small proteins that can bind with high specificity and affinity to small molecule toxins, vitamins, and drugs. Such small molecule binders can be used either as agents to detect or sequester such substances.

Impact in Washington

Location of LSDF Grantee
Locations of Collaborations/Areas of Impact

Legislative Districts:
11, 34, 36, 37, 43, 46

Health Impacts

Protein Design for Drugs, Vaccines, and Diagnostics