As part of Advancing Drug Discovery: A Webinar Series of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, a session on Beyond the Microscope: Cryo-EM’s Impact on Accelerating Drug Discovery will be held on Thursday, November 16th, 2023 at noon (EDT). The 60-minute session will consist a presentation from Sandra Gabelli, Head of Structural biology at Merck & co and formally Executive Director of Protein and Structural Chemistry.
Over the past decade, single particle cryo electron microscopy (cryoEM) has transitioned from a niche technique to a powerful tool for structural biology. This is due, in part, to technological breakthroughs which have made it relatively routine to achieve near atomic resolutions for protein targets of pharmacological interest in complex with drug candidates. The pharmaceutical industry has historically relied heavily on X-ray crystallography to enable structure-based drug design (SBDD); however, today cryoEM is playing an ever-increasing role in that process, especially for challenging samples like large multimeric complexes, proteins that are flexible, or proteins that are difficult to express or purify. Dr. Gabelli will describe the strategy and present examples were cryoEM has impacted the pipeline at Merck by enabling biology, guiding SBDD, driving protein engineering of biologics and impacting small molecule formulations with micro ED. Dr. Gabelli will also explore the potential offered by upcoming technological advancements of the technique.