The Discovery on Target 2021 conference took place Sept 28-30 in Boston, bringing together several experts from across the US and globally to foster collaboration and share the latest advances in addressing key challenges in drug discovery.
At this year’s conference we had the opportunity to hear from Nobel Laureate Robert Lefkowitz and his seminal work on the discovery of GPCRs – a valuable and challenging drug target class. His presentation further shed light on the complex role Beta-arrestins play in GPCR pathways. The other keynote speaker, Dr. Alexandra Glucksmann from Cedilla Therapeutics, presented the company’s novel approaches for targeting traditionally undruggable targets.
We also enjoyed hearing from Jane Seagal at AbbVie, who shared their company’s novel high-throughput functional assay approaches to antibody discovery that enable them to home in on their therapeutic potential faster.
Another interesting talk was focused on the rapidly evolving field of CAR-T cells in cancer treatment. Chia-Yung Wu from Bristol Myers Squibb spoke about their pre-clinical mouse models for developing next Generation CAR T cells. While there are still limitations to using mouse models for the development of CAR-T cells, their advancements in humanized immune deficient mice provide opportunities to study CAR-T cells and are more informative than the traditional xenograft models. The talk also shared how GEM models typically are more biologically relevant to tumor initiation and mimic more aspects of the disease in patients.
Codex DNA was there to support yet another area that has seen considerable breakthroughs in the past year. Historically, the development of RNA-based drugs and therapeutics have been challenging, but within the last year the scientific community made great strides in RNA-based vaccines. Our novel digital sequence-to-RNA workflow is designed to alleviate challenges in RNA-based discovery workflows and foster the rapid development of vaccines and therapeutics. In his talk, Francisco Hernandez-Guzman, Director of Product Management at Codex DNA had the opportunity to discuss the paradigm shift for mRNA synthesis enabled by the BioXp™ 3250– the end-to-end automated synthetic biology workstation that eliminates bottlenecks and long lead times to help researchers accelerate their discovery process. Overall, it was a great opportunity to connect, collaborate and learn from leading scientists. We look forward to Discovery on Target conference in 2022 and the many great takeaways and connections to be made. Hope to see you there!