Monsanto Company. Monsanto is a leading global provider of technology-based solutions and agricultural products that improve farm productivity and food quality. Monsanto remains focused on enabling both small-holder and large-scale farmers to produce more from their land while conserving more of our world’s natural resources such as water and energy. In partnership with Monsanto and the Mayo Lab at Caltech, Protabit is developing a commercial-grade, state-of-the-art extensible software platform for protein engineering.
Mayo Lab at the California Institute of Technology. Professor Stephen Mayo is a recognized leader in the development, validation, and application of computational protein design methods, and his group is at the forefront of computer-aided protein engineering. Protabit is collaborating closely with the Mayo Lab in developing, testing, and applying these leading edge tools to yield new and improved proteins for applications in biotechnology, agriculture, and therapeutics.
northwestern_logo Rosenzweig Lab at Northwestern University.  Professor Amy Rosenzweig is a world-renowned bioinorganic chemist and metalloprotein crystallographer responsible for several major breakthroughs in the study of methane monooxygenase (MMO) enzymes.  Dr. Rosenzweig was the first to solve the crystal structure of a particulate MMO (pMMO), and her lab also engineered the first active and soluble construct of the pmoB subunit of pMMO.  Dr. Rosenzweig is partnering with Protabit and Drs. Jewett and Mayo in a methane-to-liquids project sponsored by ARPA-E.Jewett Lab at Northwestern University.  Professor Michael Jewett is a leader in synthetic biology and cell-free protein synthesis (CFPS), a powerful technology for expressing proteins in vitro without direct use of living cells. CFPS can substantially accelerate enzyme engineering efforts, and it has several advantages over conventional microbial enzyme expression at industrial scale.  Dr. Jewett is a partner in the ARPA-E methane-to-liquids project with Protabit and Drs. Rosenzweig and Mayo.
National Science Foundation (NSF). The NSF is a critical supporter of science and engineering research and education in the United States. In addition, it is helping to commercialize key technologies via the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, which provide grant awards and advisory support to small companies like Protabit. Protabit and the Mayo Lab are collaborating on several NSF SBIR and STTR projects to engineer more cost-effective enzymes for converting renewable cellulosic biomass into fermentable sugars and then into fuels, chemicals, and plastics.  In addition, Protabit is collaborating with Caltech and the Rosenzweig Lab at Northwestern University to engineer more efficient methane oxidizing enzymes, which enable the micro-scale conversion of flared and stranded natural gas into valuable liquid chemicals.
doe-logo Department of Energy (DOE). The DOE’s mission “is to advance energy technology and promote related innovation in the United States.” The DOE is also helping commercialize valuable energy technologies via SBIR and STTR grants.  One such STTR grant has funded a joint effort with Caltech to engineer a novel dihydroxy-acid dehydratase for the production of isobutanol from sugars.
arpa-e_logo_hi-res Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). ARPA-E supports and promotes cutting-edge research and development in “high-potential, high-impact energy technologies that are too early for private-sector investment.”  The collaboration between Northwestern, Caltech, and Protabit to develop more efficient methane oxidizing enzymes is funded by a generous grant from ARPA-E.
 NIH_Logo National Institutes of Health (NIH). The NIH conducts and funds biomedical and health-related research in the United States.  Protabit has received a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from NIH to develop its Triad software-as-a-service platform.
CHDI Foundation. The CHDI Foundation funds research to discover and develop drugs that slow the progression of Huntington’s disease (HD). CHDI sponsored a joint Caltech-Protabit project to engineer tissue transglutaminase 2 (TG2), an enzyme associated with the progression of HD, so that it is locked into one or the other of its two dramatically different structural forms. These “conformationally-locked” TG2 variants could then be used as research reagents to help elucidate the role of TG2 in HD and to help identify novel inhibitors for use as therapeutics.