Venom Components for Therapeutics
June 18, 2015
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From Toxins to Therapeutics: Snake Venoms as a Source of Novel Drug Leads
Snakes have fascinated humans since prehistoric times; almost everyone has either positive or negative response when hear their hiss or rattle, sometimes just their mention. This fascination is due their deadly venoms. Venoms are cocktails of 50 to 100 or more protein toxins. Scientists have purified and characterized a number of these toxins. These toxins have evolved millions of years to target specific receptors and ion channels to induce their biological effects. Because of their exquisite specificity, these toxins are being used as research tools and diagnostic agents. In addition, they are excellent drug leads that would be useful in development of therapeutic agents for the prevention/ treatment of various cardiovascular and neurological diseases, and cancer.
R Manjunatha Kini
Department of Biological Sciences
National University of Singapore
Professor Kini explores structure–function relationships of proteins and peptides isolated from snake venom and saliva of ticks. His research focuses on identifying novel bioactive proteins from venoms, determining their modes of action, and designing drug leads based on their structure.
He is Editor-in-Chief of Toxin Reviews and serves on editorial boards of several international journals. He has been Chairman/Co-chairman of the subcommittee on Exogenous Factors, International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis (ISTH) since 1998. He is a Member of the Education Committee, ISTH.
He is a Member, Executive Council of International Society on Toxinology. He has published more than 210 original research papers, reviews and book chapters, and edited five special issues and two books entitled “Venom Phospholipase A2 Enzymes: Structure, Function and Mechanism” (John Wiley, England) and “Toxins and Hemostasis: From Bench to Bedside” (Springer, The Netherlands). He has 36 patent applications, and started three small biotechnology companies.
David C. Fritzinger, Ph.D.
Fritzinger Biopharma Consulting, LLC
Dr. Fritzinger is a seasoned molecular biologist and protein chemist with over 10 years experience working on the early-stage development of protein therapeutics. He currently provides consulting services in molecular biology, protein chemistry, and biologics development.
As Associate Professor at the University of Hawaii Cancer Center, he performed structure/function studies on human complement C3.
While at the UH Cancer Center, Dr. Fritzinger co-founded the biotech startup, InCode Biopharmaceutics, Inc., based on the Intellectual Property from his laboratory. As Chief Scientific Officer at InCode, he directed all discovery research for the company and managed the work of both CROs and CMOs in producing large quantities of the company’s lead protein, both in insect and mammalian cells. Previous to his work at UH and InCode, Dr. Fritzinger was the director of the DNA sequencing and genotyping core at Myriad Genetics, Inc.
He received his BS in Chemistry from Purdue University and his Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where he studied conformational changes in tRNA caused by changes in solution conditions or aminoacylation. Dr. Fritzinger performed his post-doctoral research at the University of Bristol, working in the lab of Nigel Brown.