In these group discussions, attendees choose a specific Zoom Room to join. Each group has a moderator to ensure focused conversations around key issues within the topic. The group format allows participants to informally meet potential collaborators, share examples from their work and discuss ideas with peers. You will have the ability to turn on and off your camera and microphone and the session will not be recorded and NOT available On Demand.


Ubiquitin-Induced Targeted Protein Degradation

Topic: New Technologies and Assays to Target the Ubiquitin-Proteasome System

Moderator: Alexander Statsyuk, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacological and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Houston

  • Key ubiquitination steps for inducing protein degradation
  • Biochemical, biophysical and cellular-based approaches to monitor ternary complex formation
  • How to identify novel E3 ligases and E3 ligase ligands: need and challenges
  • How do PROTACs and IMIDs affect the normal UPS function?

Topic: PROTAC-Based Protein Degradation: Novel Applications and Approaches

Moderator: Tauseef R. Butt PhD, President and CEO, Progenra, Inc.

  • Current limitations of PROTAC approaches – application of cereblon, cIAP, VHL, HDM2 ligases as degrader molecules ligase
  • Big hurdles in therapeutic potential of PROTACs – toxicity for chronic diseases; oral bioavailability; IP issues
  • Expanding therapeutic potential of PROTACs – developing novel ligases for membrane, cytosol or nuclear targets
  • How to overcome the above hurdles and not develop “Me Too” PROTACs

Fragment-Based Drug Discovery

Topic: Orthogonal Biophysical Techniques for FBDD

Moderator: Charles Wartchow, PhD, Senior Investigator, Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research

  • When to use what: SHG, SPR, NMR, DSF
  • Combining techniques: reconciling data
  • The importance of biochemical assays in biophysical screening campaigns
  • Applications to finding allosteric inhibitors

Topic: Covalent Fragments

Moderator: Daniel Erlanson, PhD, Vice President, Chemistry, Frontier Medicines

  • Reversible vs. irreversible covalent fragments
  • How to characterize covalent fragments
  • Chemistries for cysteine and beyond

Kinase Inhibitor Chemistry

Topic: The Future of Kinase Inhibitors

Moderator: Hatylas Azevedo, PhD, MBA, R&D Manager, Drug Discovery, Aché Laboratórios

  • Allosteric inhibitors
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Different scaffolds (natural products, macrocycles, covalent inhibitors)

Macrocyclics & Constrained Peptides

Topic: Lead ID Using Macrocycle Libraries

Moderator: Adrian Whitty, PhD, Associate Professor of Chemistry, Boston University

  • What properties define a good macrocycle screening hit?
  • What represents good potency, and does this depend on library chemistry?
  • Specialized/biased versus general purpose libraries

Topic: Technologies Driving Macrocycle Innovation

Moderator: Cameron Pye, PhD, CEO & Co-Founder, Unnatural Products

  • Hit-finding strategies: DELs, mRNA display, phage, next-gen OBOC, biosynthesis. Where do they work, where do they struggle?
  • Early prioritization: modeling or empirical property-based selection?
  • What is missing? What technologies could rapidly enhance macrocycle discovery and development? Better modeling, more efficient synthesis, more diverse hits...?


Protein-Protein Interactions

Topic: Biophysical Hit Assessment for PPI Targets

Moderator: Mary Harner, PhD, Research Investigator II, Mechanistic Biochemistry, Bristol-Myers Squibb R&D

  • Molecular properties: eliminating false positive hits
  • Target engagement technology selection 101: TSA, NMR, MST, SPR, other
  • Improving confidence by combining technologies
  • Importance of controls: reference molecules, specificity targets
  • Delineating hits: mechanism of binding, binding site elucidation

Topic: Applications of 19F NMR for Ligand Discovery

William CK Pomerantz, PhD, Associate Professor, Medicinal Chemistry, University of Minnesota Twin Cities

  • What types of 19F NMR experiment should I choose for a given target.   E.g. Direct binding ligand-observed vs protein-observed, or competition based ligand observed
  • What are the practical and technical limitations from the various methods available for fragment screening
  • What drug targets are well-suited for 19F NMR screening 

Artificial Intelligence for Early Drug Discovery

Topic: AI-Driven Target Discovery and Therapies

Moderator: Ruben Abagyan, PhD, Professor, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of California San Diego

  • Types of AI models predicting individual target activities of small molecules
  • May the docking be a useful intermediate step before the AI model is applied?
  • How under-characterized is the set of activities of small molecule therapeutics and drug candidates?

Topic: Trends in AI for Accelerating Drug Discovery

Moderator: Amol Jadhav, PhD, Industry Consultant, Transformational Health, Frost & Sullivan

  • Current trends for the application of AI towards preclinical drug discovery, status and challenges
  • What measures should be taken to invest and apply AI at various stages of drug development?
  • Industry-Academia partnerships, shared experience from startups, academia and impact assessment

Small Molecules for Immunology & Oncology

Topic: Modulating STING

Moderator: Gottfried Schroeder, PhD, Senior Scientist, Department of Quantitative Biosciences, Merck Research Labs Boston

  • Distinct structural features of STING to design modulators against
  • Biologics vs. small molecule approaches for modulating STING
  • MOA and physiological considerations, possible side effects, etc.

Encoded Libraries for Small Molecule Discovery

Topic: DNA-Encoded Library Technology

Moderator: Brian Paegel, PhD, Professor, Department of Chemistry, University of California, Irvine

  • DNA-compatible reaction development
  • Scaffold design
  • Screening strategies

Topic: Future Developments in DEL Technology

Moderator: Joerg Scheuermann, PhD, Senior Lecturer, Chemistry & Applied Biosciences, ETH Zurich

  • How best to speed-up hit validation
  • Ways to quickly identify false positives
  • Single or multiple display of ligands