Biotech companies are industrializing the process of X-ray crystallography to determine protein structures on a genome-wide scale. But not content just to churn out huge numbers of structures, Astex Technology Ltd. is directing its high throughput crystallography platform towards known disease targets to deliver optimized leads.

CSO Harren Jhoti, who had headed the structural biology and bioinformatics program at Glaxo Wellcome plc, said Astex emerged out of the need to develop new approaches to improve the process of X-ray crystallography. The methodology, Jhoti noted, "needed to be pushed again to maximize its use for lead discovery."