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Now Available: Innovators Under 35 2013 See The 2013 List »

Nathaniel David, 33

Biotechnology

Syrrx

Leave it to a structural biologist who thought about becoming a pastry chef to write an industrial-scale recipe for accelerating drug discovery. In 1999,with a doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley, Nathaniel David cofounded Syrrx, the world’s first automated factory devoted to analyzing proteins and their interactions with drugs using structural biology. The three-dimensional shape of a protein determines how well a particular drug will bind to it, but the structures of many critical human proteins remain unexplored. It can take researchers in a traditional lab months to produce,purify and crystallize a single protein and confirm its shape. Under David, San Diego-based Syrrx adapted robot arms from auto- motive assembly lines to crystallize proteins with far greater speed: the company can reveal 11 to 15 structures a month. Some scientists doubted the feasibility of automating an intricate lab process but David—who claims his best quality as an innovator is stubbornness—prevailed. Assole employee for 16 months, he raised $25 million. Syrrx now has 131 employees, $100 million in capital and has analyzed 90 potential drug targets for three pharmaceutical makers.

2002 TR35 Winners

Ewan Birney

Biotechnology

Fiona Brinkman

Biotechnology

Chris Burge

Biotechnology

Benjamin Cravatt

Biotechnology

Nathaniel David

Biotechnology

Susan Hagness

Medicine

Derek Hansford

Materials

J. Joseph Kim

Medicine

Steven Laken

Medicine

Kelvin Lee

Medicine

Milan Mrksich

Materials

Stephen OConnor

Biotechnology

Alexander Olek

Biotechnology

Vijay Pande

Biotechnology

Stephen Quake

Materials

David Sabatini

Biotechnology

John Santini

Medicine

David Schaffer

Medicine

Christoph Westphal

Biotechnology

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