The Drug Discovery Chemistry event is a dynamic conference for medicinal chemists working in pharma and biotech. It is the only US event focused on discovery and optimization challenges of small molecule drug candidates.

Drug Discovery Chemistry offers a plenary keynote session on Tuesday August 25 from 4:35 - 6:00 pm and Thursday August 27 from 8:00 - 9:45 am. Join hundreds of your colleagues during each of these plenary keynote presentations. These are the only times that everyone from all conference programs joins together for presentations in one session room.


Young_Wendy5:15 pm Medicinal Chemistry: Where Are We Headed?

Wendy Young, PhD, Senior Vice President, Small Molecule Discovery, Genentech

Major shifts in the way medicinal chemists discover novel medicines have evolved over the past few decades. Technological advances have significantly increased the ability to triage compound design and synthesize compounds faster. New approaches in structural biology have enhanced our ability to visualize molecules and their corresponding binding sites. Drug discovery teams have moved from local to global and our deepened understanding of biology has extended our reach. This lecture will explore past trends in drug discovery, current status of the industry, and the future of medicinal chemistry.

Wendy Young, PhD, is Senior Vice President of Small Molecule Drug Discovery at Genentech in San Francisco, CA. In this role, she leads an internal team of over 380 internal scientists that invent, discover, and develop new medicines for patients. Wendy is a chemist by training and has over 25 years of experience leading research and drug discovery teams. She led the team and is co-inventor of fenebrutinib, a Bruton tyrosine Kinase (btk) inhibitor, which is currently in clinical trials for several immunology indications. Wendy received a BA/MS degree in chemistry under Huw Davies at Wake Forest University, a PhD from Princeton University in 1993 under the guidance of E.C. Taylor, and thereafter was a postdoctoral fellow at MSKCC with Samuel Danishefsky. Prior to Genentech, Wendy led discovery efforts at Axys/Celera for 10 years. In 2015, Wendy was recognized by the San Francisco Business Times as one of San Francisco Bay Area’s “Most Influential Business Women of 2015.” In 2017, Wendy was elected and served as the Chair of the National ACS Medicinal Chemistry Division, in 2018 was an ACS Fellows Awardee, and in 2020 will be awarded the National ACS Earle B. Barnes Award for Leadership in Chemical Research Management.


baranPphil9:00 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).