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

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

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

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

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

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?

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

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

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

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