Finding new weapons against SARS-CoV-2

Webinar Summary:

This webinar will provide you with some insights to an assay platform developed by Axxam and suitable for High Throughput Screening (HTS) applications, for the identification of novel antiviral tools that could inhibit the viral replicative cycle at different stages.

The assay platform includes an innovative cell-based viral entry assay, that takes advantage of the HiBiT protein tagging technology developed by Promega. This assay, which may be adapted to the emerging new variants of SARS-CoV-2, could be used for the identification of small molecule inhibitors of the viral entry step as well as to investigate the neutralization profile of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2.

In addition, a biochemical assay dealing with viral replication has been developed at Axxam. This assay tackles the main protease of coronaviruses (Mpro), responsible for the viral maturation, proliferation and replication in the cell. A biochemical characterization was performed for SARS-CoV-2 Mpro protease as well as for some orthologue enzymes. The assay was efficiently miniaturized for HTS campaigns in 1536 well plate format and matching with MST (MicroScale Thermophoresis) technology outcomes.

Overall, this comprehensive assay platform could be of great value for the identification of novel drugs, that could act synergically to prevent viral replication at multiple stages, by acting against viral as well as host cell targets.


SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19, antiviral drugs, neutralizing antibodies, viral entry assay, biochemical assay, virus life cycle, spike protein, MPro (3CLpro), MST (MicroScale Thermophoresis)


  • Sara Tremolada – Principal Scientist, Cell Biology, Axxam S.p.A.
  • Simone Nenci – Principal Scientist, Biochemistry, Axxam S.p.A.
  • An expert from Promega will also be available to answer questions on their HiBiT technology presented during this webinar.

Sara Tremolada is currently a Principal Scientist in the Cell Biology Unit at Axxam. She holds a master’s degree in Biotechnology and a Ph.D. in Molecular Medicine (University of Milan), and about a ten years experience in the field of cell-based assays for drug discovery. In the last two years, Sara has given her major contribution in several projects aimed at developing cell-based assays suitable to identify novel antiviral drugs against SARS-CoV-2, for High Throughput Screening (HTS) applications.

Simone Nenci is currently a Principal Scientist in the biochemistry group at Axxam with 5 years of experience in the field of assay development and HTS assay configuration on therapeutically relevant targets, with focused expertise in biochemical and biophysical assay. He is responsible for the strategic design of recombinant protein expression and he succeeded in developing several functional biochemical assays for HTS across a broad range of targets including different enzyme classes, hetero-multimeric protein complexes, protein-protein interaction, and protein-nucleic acids interaction. Simone achieved a master’s degree in Applied Biology and he obtained his Ph.D. in Biotechnology. During his career, he was author and co-author of a number of relevant scientific publications.

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