Charles River and ATEM partner to accelerate drug discovery efforts

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Monty Rakusen
© GettyImages/Monty Rakusen

Related tags: Drug discovery, AAV, gene therapies

Charles River and ATEM Structural Discovery (ATEM) are collaborating to provide access to cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM), a technique that visualizes molecules and proteins in atomic resolution to determine their 3D shape.

The alliance has the potential to significantly accelerate drug discovery efforts, according to the partners.

Charles River’s clients gain access to ATEM’s cryo-EM platform to support their drug discovery work, potentially getting early insights into how lead candidates interact with their intended disease target, allowing for more informed prioritization and optimization of lead candidates.

ATEM’s technology directly images vitrified biological macromolecules in single-particle experiments at high resolution.

“Subsequently, reconstructed coulomb potential maps then allow the precise modeling of 3D atomic coordinates that elucidate the target structure. This leads to the identification of novel distinct binding sites and significantly improves the discovery of drug candidates.”

Fast turnaround times

Due to the minimal amount of samples needed, fast turnaround times and statistical certainty, cryo-EM will also support the analysis of adeno-associated virus (AAV) vector-based gene therapies, as well as novel mRNA and plasmid-based drugs, making it a powerful orthogonal tool to support both quality control and R&D efforts, said the companies. 

“Cryo-EM will expand the portfolio of drug targets that we can generate a 3D understanding of, enhance our knowledge of how to modulate these targets and enable computational drug design for more of our client projects.

“ATEM’s cryo-EM expertise is a perfect complement to our established x-ray crystallography platform,”​ said Grant Wishart, director CADD & structural biology, discovery, at Charles River.


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