The Aptamer: An Alternative to the Antibody for Research and Therapeutic Development

Drug Discovery and Development, Life Sciences, Preclinical,
  • Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Aptamers are nucleic acids that fold into a well-defined three-dimensional structure and exhibit high affinity for a specific target molecule. Many aptamers are simple single-stranded DNA or RNA, although the incorporation of chemical diversity-enhancing side chains has led to the development of “slow off-rate modified aptamers” (SOMAmers). Investigators at Beryllium and SomaLogic, Inc. have collaborated to elucidate three crystal structures of proteins in complex with SOMAmers. The SOMAmer structures are distinctive members of the ensemble of sixteen aptamer-protein complex structures that have been reported to date.

This webinar will highlight unique attributes of SOMAmers but also discuss similarities between aptamers and antibodies from the standpoints of and target protein recognition and shape complementarity.


Douglas R. Davies, Senior Manager of Structural Biology, Beryllium Discovery Corp.

Over the past twenty years, some of Douglas’ work has focused on structural studies of functional nucleic acids and nucleic-acid modifying enzymes. His graduate thesis work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison involved the first structures of Tn5transposase. As a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Washington, Douglas studied the DNA repair enzyme Tyrosyl DNA Phosphodiersterase (Tdp1), elucidating the first crystal structures and verifying the proposed mechanism of action. During the past 10 years at Beryllium, he has applied these experiences to a number of DNA aptamer diagnostics and potential therapeutics (SOMAmers) as well as DNA Polymerase C from Geobacillus kaustophilus. Douglas is the lead crystallographer for 77 crystal structures in the Protein Data Bank and has published 28 peer-reviewed journal articles.

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Who Should Attend?

Any company that is in the pre-clinical drug discovery stage such as:

  • Target Selection
  • Discovery & Screening
  • Lead Selection
  • Lead Optimization
  • Pre-Clinical Development

Research and Development groups of all levels, from Research Scientists to Director and/or C-level executives.

Xtalks Partner


Beryllium is shaping the future of collaborative drug discovery. Our proven teams of drug discovery professionals are passionate about unlocking the therapeutic potential of both genetically- and clinically-validated drug targets, as well as developing new therapeutic modalities. We work in partnership with our clients to address the most difficult scientific and business challenges facing drug discovery, and to ultimately enable transformational health care outcomes.

We enable novel drug discovery by applying structural and functional biology-centric processes and platforms. Our goal is to deliver validated starting points for drug development programs, and our teams of pharma industry veterans are applying multidisciplinary knowledge to tackle the most promising therapeutic targets.

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