James A. Wells
University of California, San Francisco
Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Molecular Biology
Pioneered technologies to engineer proteins and small molecules that target sites involved in allostery and protein-protein interactions. An early innovator in site-directed mutagenesis, he used this method to investigate the mechanism the protease, subtilisin, and to improved its performance resulting in products still sold today. He similarly determined how growth hormone binds and activates its receptor, and developed Somavert® for treating acromegaly. His group developed familiar approaches such as: cassette mutagenesis, protein phage display, substrate phage display, alanine-scanning hot-spots in protein-protein interfaces, and disulfide tethering, a novel site-directed fragment based approach for drug discovery.