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, May 18 from 12:00 - 12:50 pm EDT and Thursday, May 20 from 9:30 - 10:20 am EDT. Join hundreds of your colleagues during each of these plenary keynote presentations where you will be able to ask a question verbally in Zoom or via a chat box during the live Q&A.


Bryan  L. Roth12:00 pm New Technologies for Drug Discovery
Bryan L. Roth, PhD, Distinguished Professor, Pharmacology & Psychiatry, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
In this talk I will discuss recently invented approaches to accelerate drug discovery. These include a novel approach for directed evolution to create therapeutically targeted nanobodies, new biosensors for GPCRs and ultra-large-scale docking to discover new chemical matter at druggable targets. I will also highlight how these approaches can provide insights into new approaches to target COVID-19 and related disorders.

Bryan L. Roth, MD, PhD is the Michael Hooker Distinguished Professor of Pharmacology at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill School of Medicine. Dr. Roth was elected to the National Academy of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 2014 and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2019. He has published more than 450 papers, has >40 patents and has founded 2 biotech companies. He has received many honors including the Goodman and Gilman Award for Receptor Pharmacology, the PhRMA Foundation Excellence in Pharmacology Award, a NARSAD Distinguished Investigator Award and the IUPHAR Analytical Pharmacology Lectureship. Dr. Roth also given more than 20 named lectures including the 2017 Martin Rodbell Lecture and a Presidential Special Lecturer at the 2018 Society for Neurosciences meeting.


Juswinder Singh9:30 am A Brief History of Targeted Covalent Drugs: The Journey from Avoided to Essential Medicines
Juswinder Singh, PhD, Founder, Ankaa Therapeutics
Over the last decade there has been remarkable progress in the field of targeted covalent drugs. Despite historical concerns about off-target toxicity, covalent inhibitors have been rationally designed with high specificity and have led to breakthrough therapies for cancer. Targeted covalent inhibitors are also in advanced trials for inflammatory diseases. In showing how covalent inhibitors address unmet medical needs, overcoming specific shortcomings of reversible drugs, I will highlight areas of innovation in covalent drug discovery.

Juswinder Singh, PhD is a scientist and entrepreneur. He is a pioneer in the development of targeted covalent inhibitors and is the Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Ankaa Therapeutics, a company focused on the development of covalent drugs.
Dr. Singh earned his BSc (First class honors) in Biochemistry and PhD in rational drug design from the University of London in 1988. His PhD work focused on understanding how side chains pack within proteins and how they could be used to rationally design drugs. This has formed the basis of a computational database and also a book. He has worked in pharma (Parke-Davis 1991-1994) and also biotech (Biogen 1994-2005) where he pioneered computer-assisted drug design.

Dr. Singh has developed methods to design and screen covalent drugs and developed this strategy into a drug discovery platform. His work has formed the basis of multiple drugs (approved and in clinical development) for the treatment of lung, breast cancer and leukemia and Hepatitis C.

In 2006 he founded and became CSO of Avila Therapeutics, that was the first company to focus on developing the field of targeted covalent drugs. In five years he built Avila Therapeutics into a world-class organization, with collaborations with Novartis, Sanofi, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and Clovis Oncology. Avila advanced two drugs into clinical development and also one additional candidate had completed pre-clinical development. In 2012 Avila Therapeutics was acquired by Celgene for $350M upfront and up to 900M in milestones. In 2013 his company Avila received the New England Venture Capital award for Exit of the Year. He was awarded the 2016 ACS George and Christine Sosnovsky award for outstanding contributions to cancer research. In 2016 he was awarded the Excellence in Innovation Award by the Chinese-American Biomedical Association.