Early-stage drug researchers have traditionally been forced to use 2D representations of 3D molecules to do their work and share their hypotheses with colleagues, many of whom—like medicinal chemists and biologists—do not have the same expertise when it comes to viewing complex molecular structures. Researchers like Cortopassi used to create PowerPoint presentations to show different views of molecular structures, or they would show 3D proteins on 2D computer screens.
Things began to change in 2016, when Glen Spraggon, Director of Structural Biology, at the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation (GNF) in La Jolla (a NIBR research institute), put on an Oculus headset and tried a demo of Nanome’s VR software to help his team members better understand the 3D protein structures as well as where drugs bind to activate or deactivate protein targets, thereby modulating the disease. Shortly thereafter, NIBR and Nanome began working together to evolve Nanome’s solution.
Viktor Hornak, Associate Director at NIBR Cambridge says, “With advances in structural biology, bigger and more complex biomolecular structures are being solved.