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Alexander Heifetz

Dr Alexander Heifetz

Dr Alexander Heifetz

Research Fellow

Interests and expertise (Subject groups)

Grants awarded


Scheme: Industry Fellowship

Organisation: Evotec (UK) Ltd

Dates: Jul 2011-Jun 2015

Value: £112,000

Summary: RS Industry Fellowship was awarded to Dr. Alexander Heifetz from Evotec Ltd (UK), a drug discovery company, to establish collaboration with Dr. Philip Biggin’s group from the University of Oxford with two main objectives: First objective was to develop computational methods to guide GPCR drug discovery. This year we completed the development of novel hierarchical GPCR modeling protocol (HGMP) to support GPCR drug discovery programs. The novelty of this work is not limited to the development of new theoretical methods but also included generation of a fully integrated software package. The outstanding value of the HGMP was demonstrated in GPCR drug discovery projects such as MCH-1R for obesity treatment, Orexin-1/2 receptors for insomnia, 5-HT2C for treatment of metabolic disorders and in several other confidential drug-discovery programs. Second objective was to develop computational methods to aid GPCR crystallography. HGMP was implemented in the solving of the two H1R crystals structures bound to two antihistamines: Cetirizine and Fexofenadine. This work has resulted from collaboration with the Diamond and Imperial College London. These new crystal structures can boost the further discovery of new antihistamine drugs. Dr. Heifetz and Dr. Biggin organised the Royal Society Academia-Industry International Conference 2014 focused on GPCRs that has been held on September 1-2 in Chicheley Hall, UK. This conference brought together twenty world top experts in GPCR research and drug discovery spanning Europe, Australia, and North America. Overall, this year Dr. Heifetz presented his work in 5 international conferences and will present it again in Berlin Germany (May 2015). This year we continued our successful collaborations with Pfizer UK and Vanderbilt University Medical Center, US. New academic collaborations were established with NRI, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Japan.

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