In the early 1990s, the pharmaceutical industry was transformed by the widespread adoption of structure-based drug design—a process in which the three-dimensional structure of a given target protein is used to guide the design of drugs that bind to that target.
Until recently, this process has been based largely on static “snapshots” of the target protein. Recent advances in experimental and computational technologies, however, have begun to reveal the dynamic structural changes undergone by such proteins, which are often central to their function.
The team and the tools that Relay has assembled are allowing it to observe the motion of pharmaceutically relevant target proteins and to predict how they would interact with hypothetical drug molecules. In particular, our approach is creating new opportunities for the design of powerful and selective allosteric drugs, which interact with one part of a target protein in order to change the behavior of another part.
By placing protein motion at the heart of drug discovery, Relay is pursuing what it believes will be a fundamental paradigm shift within the pharmaceutical industry, ushering in a new generation of drugs with the potential to improve and extend the lives of millions of patients.