Membraneless Organelles Offer New Drug Discovery Opportunities

April 29th, 2019 | Timmerman Report

Sometimes it pays to watch the worm.

When researchers in cell biologist Tony Hyman’s lab first started looking at P granules in worm embryos, their aim was to understand how these unusual structures assemble. It was classic basic research.

That line of basic science – quickly and unexpectedly – captivated the imaginations of some of the best drug hunters in the pharmaceutical industry. Venture capitalists tuned in once Hyman’s lab at the Max Planck Institute in Germany helped to revitalize interest in membraneless organelles that organize proteins and RNA inside the cell. These organelles offer a new vantage point for seeing how drug compounds behave in cells — which opens up many kinds of new therapeutic opportunities…