The new technology, which was in part funded by the National Science Foundation, is called the Parabon Essemblix
Drug Development Platform, and it combines computer-aided design (CAD)
software called inSequio
with nanoscale fabrication technology.
"What differentiates our nanotechnology from others is our ability to rapidly, and precisely, specify the placement of every atom in a compound that we design, " said lead investigator Steven Armentrout through the NSF's official release.
DNews Nugget: Cloning Dinos From DNA Is Impossible
The inSequio software allowed the scientists to design molecular pieces with specific, functional components. They then optimized their designs using a cloud supercomputing platform called the Parabon Computation Grid that searches for sets of DNA sequences that can self-assemble its new components.
To design the compounds, the researchers applied their knowledge of the cell receptors they were targeting or the biological pathways they were trying to affect. And they did so by applying the principles of basic chemistry to explore the space of all possible assemblies. Consequently, the process was very deliberate and methodical, what the researchers say is unique in the drug development industry.