This has been motivated by the interest on the part of pharmaceutical companies in identifying targets and leads from combinatorial chemical libraries of potential drugs. High-throughput G-coupled protein cell assays to look for receptor binding are also common practice, based on the biomolecular assembled properties of the G protein system important in many cellular interactions. Other cell-based tests have utilized green fluorescent protein or luminescence to drive cell-specific information of interest. One test employs the use of B cells engineered with aquoerin (jellyfish protein) to create a commercial cell-based test for food contamination with E. coli.

Medical Devices

Biomolecular materials in the medical device industry have already achieved considerable penetration into the market. This includes the use of biomolecular polymers in a number of medical devices, including bandages, drug delivery vehicles, stents, orthopedics, and dentistry. These products capture structural properties of these materials (for example, collagen, ceramics, bioglass, dental polymers, and hydrogels), release properties (for example, hydrogels and coatings) and delivery of specific agents (for example, liposomes and imaging agents). They rely on careful identification of properties such as molecular interactions (collagen with growth factors or coagulation proteins), porosity and permeability, and surface modification for specific targeting of drugs and therapeutics.


Biomolecules and their assemblies have also provided useful therapeutics for application in medicine. The use of assembled phospholipids in liposomes and other lipid emulsions as drug delivery vehicles has been widely practiced in the delivery of toxic agents (for example, antifungals) and antibiotics for extended release and targeting to specific sites in the body. Biomolecules as contrast imaging agents for PET or fMRI applications have also been very useful for in vivo medical diagnostics, and their use continues to grow rapidly. Other biomolecular properties exploited in useful therapeutic applications include adhesives such as thrombin (surgical glues) and absorbable biocompatible polymers (sutures made of polylactides and polyglycolides). These are mature examples of the utility of biomolecular material products and generate revenues of millions of dollars in commercial markets.

Challenges and Opportunities in Commercialization

Biomolecular science and technology enjoy wide application and generate correspondingly broad commercial interest. This interest is due to the unique

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