Interactive Discussions (In-Person Only)

Interactive Discussions are informal, moderated discussions, allowing participants to exchange ideas and experiences and develop future collaborations around a focused topic. Each discussion will be led by a facilitator who keeps the discussion on track and the group engaged. To get the most out of this format, please come prepared to share examples from your work, be a part of a collective, problem-solving session, and participate in active idea sharing.

2022 Interactive Discussions will be IN-PERSON ONLY and will take place Tuesday evening, October 18 at 5:10 pm and Thursday morning, October 20 at 9:30 am. Below are confirmed topics so far. Please revisit this page for more content updates.


TUESDAY, OCTOBER 18 | 5:10 - 5:55 PM

PROTACs and Molecular Glues – Part 1
Degrader Strategies for Cancer and Beyond

Moderators:
Miklos Bekes, PhD, Associate Director, Degrader Mechanisms Group, Platform Biology, Arvinas, Inc.
Chris De Savi, PhD, Senior Vice President & Head, Drug Discovery, Kymera Therapeutics

  • Why is oncology especially well-suited for targeted protein degradation (TPD) strategies?
  • What are the TPD approaches most likely to succeed in cancer?
  • What areas and which approaches show the most promise for non-cancer indications?

Target Identification and Validation – Part 1
Innovative Chemoproteomics-based Strategies for Target Identification

Moderators:
Bekim Bajrami, PhD, Senior Scientist, Chemical Biology and Proteomics, Biogen Inc.
Steve Gygi, PhD, Professor, Department of Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School

  • Challenges with finding and validating good targets
  • How can proteomics best be used in the drug discovery pipeline?
  • Which improvements are most needed in sample handling and data quality?  
  • Application of photoaffinity probes in target identification, advantages and disadvantages
  • Novel technologies for activation of photoaffinity probes to covalently label their protein target

Targeting RNA
Challenges and Opportunities Pursuing RNA as a Drug Target

Moderators:
Matthew Disney, PhD, Professor, Department of Chemistry, Scripps Research Institute
Amanda Hargrove, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry, Duke University
Marla Weetall, PhD, Vice President, Pharmacology and Biomarkers, PTC Therapeutics

  • Emerging techniques for probing and modulating RNA
  • Corelating RNA binding with function and physiological response
  • New drug modalities for targeting RNA

Small Molecule Immuno-Oncology Targets
Degrader and Other Strategies for Immuno-Oncology and Beyond

Moderator: Donald M Simons, PhD, Senior Scientist, Discovery, Agios Pharmaceuticals

  • Why is oncology especially suited for TPD strategies?
  • What are the most promising TPD approaches for cancer space/most likely to succeed?
  • New, Non-TPD IO Strategies (Immunogenic Cell Death, Synthetic Lethality)
  • TPD for Non-Cancer Indications

GPCR-Based Drug Discovery
Facilitating GPCR-Targeted Discovery

Moderator: Elisa Barile, PhD, Principal Scientist, Structural Biology & Biophysics, Takeda San Diego

  • NMR and other biophysical approaches for GPCRs
  • Implications of CryoEM advances to GPCR-targeted drug discovery
  • Other innovations for GPCR translational work

Antibodies Against Membrane Protein Targets – Part 1
Considerations when Producing Recombinant Membrane Proteins for Biologics Drug Discovery

Moderator: Keenan Taylor, PhD, Senior Scientist, AbbVie

  • Matching antigen format (VLP, nanodisc, detergent solubilized protein) to applications in biologics drug discovery – are there clear “rules” in this regard?
  • What degree of protein engineering is acceptable within biologics drug discovery if required to produce recombinant protein?
  • What is the best practice for reagent validation for VLP, nanodisc, or detergent solubilized protein reagent formats?

Targeting KRAS and Other Small G Proteins
KRAS and Beyond

Moderators:
Daniel A. Erlanson, PhD, Senior Vice President, Innovation and Discovery, Frontier Medicines Corporation
Charles W. Johannes, PhD, Vice President, Exploratory Chemistry, FogPharma

  • Understanding and overcoming resistance to G12C inhibitors
  • Moving beyond G12C: G12D and pan-RAS inhibitors
  • Macrocyclic inhibitors
  • Can KRAS inhibitors be combined with other drugs?

Artificial Intelligence in Drug Discovery – Part 1
Understanding the Caveats of AI Predictions

Moderators:
Anthony Bradley, PhD, Director of Design Development, Exscientia Ltd.
Sean Ekins, PhD, Founder & CEO, Collaborations Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

  • Current trends for the application of AI towards preclinical drug discovery
  • The challenge of continuous evolution of models in response to growth of big data, data types, and computational platforms
  • What measures should be taken to invest in and effectively use AI at various stages of drug development?

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 20 | 9:30 - 10:15 AM

PROTACs and Molecular Glues – Part 2
Targeted Protein Degradation - Where Are We Headed?

Moderators:
Daniel A. Erlanson, PhD, Senior Vice President, Innovation and Discovery, Frontier Medicines Corporation
Nikki R. Kong, PhD, Senior Scientist; Biology Group Leader, Center for Protein Degradation, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Yue Xiong, PhD, Co-Founder & CSO, Cullgen

  • Exploring novel E3 ligases and ligands for targeted protein degradation
  • Rational design strategies for molecular glue degraders
  • New assays and screening approaches for mechanistic studies of degraders and glues​

Target Identification and Validation – Part 2
Novel Functional Genomics Approaches for Target Discovery

Moderators:
Brian Brown, PhD, Director, Icahn Genomics Institute and Professor, Department of Genetics & Genomic Sciences, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Daniel Schramek, PhD, Investigator, Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute

  • Use of CRISPR screening, spatial genomics, imaging for target discovery
  • In vivo profiling of drug targets​

New Antivirals
Antiviral Drug Development Challenges

Moderator: Christian Lerner, PhD, Senior Principal Scientist, Medicinal Chemistry, Roche Innovation Center Basel

  • Pan-antivirals: For which viruses? When?
  • HBV combo potentials
  • TPD approaches: A good strategy for antivirals?
  • Has COVID impacted antiviral drug discovery?

NASH and Fibrosis
Quantifying Fibrosis

Moderator: Michael P. Cooreman, MD, CMO, Inventiva Pharma

  • Markers for initial diagnosis
  • Measuring treatment response
  • Which is best for what?: AI, imaging, lab tests, histology scoring, more?

Neurodegeneration Targets
CNS Drug Discovery Challenges

Moderators:
Rajesh Kumar, PhD, Principal Scientist, Small Molecule Target Protein Science, Biogen
Magdalene M. Moran, PhD, President & CSO, Caraway Therapeutics

  • Successful hit-finding methods for neurodegeneration targets, especially those that aggregate or contain intrinsically disordered regions
  • Targeted protein degradation (TPD) approaches for neurodegeneration targets
  • Blood-brain barrier challenges
  • Translational assays for neurodegeneration targets

Antibodies Against Membrane Protein Targets – Part 2
Characterization of Antibodies Against Membrane Proteins

Moderator: Joseph Rucker, PhD, Vice President, Research and Development, Integral Molecular, Inc.

  • Affinity and Kinetics: Useful approaches for characterizing antibody binding
  • Epitopes: Different techniques for epitope mapping; binning versus mapping; why do epitopes matter?
  • Specificity: Understanding off-target binding
  • Cell Function: Integrating functional assays into antibody discovery and development

Drug Lead Generation Strategies
Integrating Hit-Finding Strategies

Moderators:
Elizabeth D'ambrosio, PhD, Investigator, DNA-Encoded Library Technology, GlaxoSmithKline
Roderick E. Hubbard, PhD, Senior Fellow, Vernalis R&D, Ltd.
Adrian Whitty, PhD, Associate Professor of Chemistry, Boston University

  • Finding hits against difficult targets: biophysical approaches
  • Strategies for early hit prioritization
  • Integrating FBDD with HTS, DEL, and other approaches
  • Applications of covalent fragments to drug lead generation
  • Stabilizing protein interfaces

Artificial Intelligence in Drug Discovery – Part 2
How Successful Are AI Predictions for Disease Biology?

Moderator: Nicolas Stransky, PhD, Vice President & Head, Data Sciences, Celsius Therapeutics