The Drug Discovery Chemistry Virtual event is a dynamic conference for medicinal and biophysical chemists working in pharma and biotech. It is one of the few international events focused solely on discovery and optimization challenges of small molecule drug candidates.

Drug Discovery Chemistry Virtual offers a plenary keynote session on Tuesday, August 25 from 11:45 am - 12:25 pm EDT and Thursday, August 27 from 10:05 am - 10:45 am EDT. Join hundreds of your colleagues during each of these plenary keynote presentations where you will be able to ask a question via a chat box during the live Q&A.


Young_Wendy11:45 am Discovery of Bioactive, Passively Permeable Cyclic Peptides: Translating Theory into Practice

Scott Lokey, PhD, Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California, Santa Cruz

Cyclic peptides have undergone a renaissance in medicinal chemistry. More and more cyclic peptides are being discovered with surprisingly high passive permeabilities and, in some cases, small molecule-like oral bioavailability. Can we harness that understanding to generate molecules that are both membrane permeable and capable of inhibiting a given therapeutic target? I will describe our latest efforts to predict and control properties in this interesting class of molecules.

Scott Lokey received his PhD at the University of Texas, Austin in organic chemistry, where his research centered on the synthesis of molecules that fold into protein-like shapes in water and bind to specific DNA sequences. He did post-doctoral research at Genentech, where he worked on the synthesis of bioactive cyclic peptides, and then at Harvard Medical School on the synthesis of molecules designed to disrupt cellular processes related to motility. He joined the faculty at UCSC in 2002 in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, where his research group focuses on the relationship between molecular structure and drug-like properties, especially cell permeability. Professor Lokey is also the director of the UCSC Chemical Screening Center, a high-throughput screening facility dedicated to early stage lead discovery, especially against infectious agents and neglected disease targets.


baranPphil10:05 am Translational Chemistry

Phil Baran, PhD, Professor, Department of Chemistry, Scripps Research

There can be no more noble undertaking than the invention of medicines. Chemists that make up the engine of drug discovery are facing incredible pressure to do more with less in a highly restrictive and regulated process that is destined for failure more than 95% of the time. How can academic chemists working on natural products help these heroes of drug discovery – those in the pharmaceutical industry? With selected examples from our lab and others, this talk will focus on that question highlighting interesting findings in fundamental chemistry and new approaches to scalable chemical synthesis.

Phil Baran was born in 1977 in Denville, New Jersey. He received his BS in chemistry from NYU in 1997, his PhD at The Scripps Research Institute in 2001, and from 2001-2003 he was an NIH-postdoctoral fellow at Harvard. His independent career began at Scripps in the summer of 2003. He currently holds the Darlene Shiley Chair in Chemistry. Phil has published over 200 scientific articles and has been the recipient of several ACS awards such as the Corey (2015), Pure Chemistry (2010), Fresenius (2006), and Nobel Laureate Signature (2003), and several international distinctions such as the Hirata Gold Medal and Mukaiyama Prize (Japan), the RSC award in Synthesis (UK), and the Sackler Prize (Israel). In 2013 he was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow, in 2015 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, in 2016 he was awarded the Blavatnik National Award, and in 2017, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, USA. He has delivered hundreds of lectures around the world and consults for numerous companies such as Bristol-Myers Squibb (since late 2005), Boehringer-Ingelheim, AstraZeneca, DuPont and TEVA, and is a scientific advisory board member for Eisai, Abide, and AsymChem. In 2016 he was appointed as an Associate Editor for the Journal of the American Chemical Society. He co-founded Sirenas Marine Discovery (2012) and Vividion Therapeutics (2016) and in 2013 he co-authored The Portable Chemist’s Consultant, an interactive book published on the iBooks store along with his graduate class in Heterocyclic Chemistry (viewable for free by anyone on iTunes University). Outside of the lab, Phil enjoys spending time with his wife Ana and three young children (Lucia, Leah, and Manuel).