Prof. Wüthrich at the 6th NovAliX Conference "Biophysics in Drug Discovery"
The 6th edition of the NovAliX Conference “Biophysics in Drug Discovery” took place on March 20th-22nd, 2019 in Cannes on the French Rivera. This event brought together 140 participants from 17 different countries, mostly European, including ~70% from industry.
The importance of combining complementary biophysical techniques was highlighted. The smart use of all available techniques in the biophysics toolbox is the winning strategy to accelerate the drug discovery process. This concept was perfectly presented by the Keynote Speaker Prof. Kurt Wüthrich in the case of the structural biology of GPCRs where NMR, X-ray crystallography and cryo-EM each provide information that the others cannot.
On the first day, the oral communications around fragment screening, high-throughput automated crystallography and new therapeutic targets were well received. The second session highlighted the complementarity between X-ray crystallography and cryo-EM. Recent developments at cryo-EM have been spectacular. However, crystallography remains the technique of choice for high-throughput structure determination. Thus, these techniques, together with NMR, must be considered as an integral structural biology toolbox.
The second day focused on chemical biology and MS-Based methods. Mass spectrometry is a very powerful, versatile biophysical tool for fragment screening, the detailed characterization of small molecule–target interactions, for probing protein conformation and dynamics, and for the characterization of biotherapeutics. RNA, a new hot topic both in terms of new drugs and new therapeutic targets, also had a dedicated session.
The last day was dedicated to enabling tools for biophysical and structural studies.
Last but not least, 13 exhibitors were present throughout the conference and, among them, 7 presented well-received insights into their state-of-the-art technologies.
And finally, we would like to congratulate the NovAliX poster prize winners: Jonathan Cramer from University of Basel on “New leads for the antiadhesive therapy of urinary tract infections” and Antoine Cléry from ETH Zurich on “Structure of a small molecule stabilizing SMN2 EXON7 5’SS-U1 RNA duplex and investigation of compounds stabilizing protein-RNA interactions in the context of spinal muscular atrophy”.
The next event will be the first NovAliX Conference in Asia on November 13th-15th 2019 in Kyoto, Japan. As usual, we expect to have a powerful line-up of top industrial and academic experts across a range of biophysics topics.
See you in Kyoto !