Effective Discovery and Validation of Cancer Drug Targets Through Scalable Genome Engineering
November 30, 2020
11:00 am – 12:00 pm EST

Webinar Description:

Drug discovery suffers from a high attrition rate. Recent industry data indicates that lack of efficacy, mainly stemming from faulty target-to-disease linkage, is a major reason for late-stage drug candidate failure. Therefore, better validation of drug targets is critical for reducing late-stage attrition. Precision genome engineering empowers better disease modeling in biologically relevant cell types, such as primary cells, thereby enabling a deeper understanding of the target-disease relationship. In this webinar, we will discuss how CRISPR genome editing has proven to be a powerful tool in target discovery and validation, with a specific focus on cancer drug targets. We will cover the following specific examples, empowering robust target validation for better clinical success:

  • CRISPR method for KO screens in primary dendritic cells
  • Target deconvolution of a Phase III clinical cancer drug using CRISPRa/CRISPRi dual screens
  • Scalable generation of genetic variants and assays for almost every drug target in a cost- and time-effective manner


Abhi Saharia, PhD, Vice President, Commercial Development, Synthego

Marco Jost, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, San Francisco; Member of the Faculty, Department of Microbiology, Harvard Medical School

Speaker Biographies

Abhi Saharia, PhD
Vice President, Commercial Development, Synthego

Abhisek Saharia is the VP of Commercial Development at Synthego. Over the past 12 years, Abhi has successfully developed and commercialized several innovative technologies with applications in research and drug discovery, ranging from RNAi, Zinc Finger Nucleases, cell-based assays to CRISPR-based cell engineering platforms. Abhi received his PhD from Washington University in St Louis.


Marco Jost, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, San Francisco; Member of the Faculty, Department of Microbiology, Harvard Medical School

Marco received a Diploma in Biochemistry from the University of Tübingen in Germany and a PhD in Biological Chemistry from MIT, where he worked with Cathy Drennan to study the roles of coenzyme B12 in photosensing and radical catalysis. Marco is currently a post-doctoral fellow with Jonathan Weissman and Carol Gross at UCSF, where he is developing CRISPR screening methods and applying them to identify the mechanisms of action of anti-cancer drugs and microbiome-derived small molecules. In April 2021, Marco will join the Department of Microbiology at Harvard Medical School as a faculty member. Marco has co-authored more than 20 peer-reviewed papers and received several awards and distinctions including the MIT Department of Chemistry Awards for Outstanding Teaching and for Continued Excellence in Teaching, the MIT Poitras Pre-Doctoral Fellowship, an NIH F32 NRSA Postdoctoral Fellowship, a UCSF PBBR Postdoctoral Independent Research Grant, and the NIH K99 Pathway to Independence Award.


Cost: No Cost!