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WEBINAR SPEAKERS

Dr. Justin Hall

Pfizer Pharmaceuticals – Principal Scientist

Presentation: A simple model for determining ligand affinity from irreversible thermal shifts

Date: October 28th, 2020

Justin Hall is from Southern Oregon. He received his BS in Chemistry/Physics from Eastern Washington University. He received his Ph.D. in crystallography/biophysics in the laboratory of Dr. Elisar Barbar. In 2018 he received OSU’s Young Alumni Award. He works at Pfizer Pharmaceuticals in Boulder Colorado, and serves the scientific community as an industry advisor for academic and nonprofit organization.

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Dr. Evan Feinberg

Genesis Therapeutics – Founder and CEO

Presentation: Unifying AI and biotech to accelerate and optimize drug discovery & development

Date: Nov 11th, 2020

Evan Feinberg is a scientist and entrepreneur whose lifelong mission is to radically improve the way we discover new medicines. Dr. Feinberg started Genesis Therapeutics, an a16z-funded, AI-driven drug discovery company, to do just that. Before graduate school, Dr. Feinberg studied Applied Physics as an undergraduate at Yale while working on carbon nanotubes as cancer drug delivery agents at Sloan-Kettering. After grappling with his own physical disability, he experienced first-hand the limits of our current pharmacopeia. At Stanford, Evan invented novel neural network architectures for chemistry while working with Prof. Vijay Pande; their paper on PotentialNet was published in ACS Central Science. Dr. Feinberg completed his graduate career while consulting for Merck on deep learning and demonstrating step-change improvement in predicting the properties of drug candidates, a finding published in Journal of Medicinal Chemistry in June, 2020’s special issue, “Artificial Intelligence for Drug Discovery.” Since then, Dr. Feinberg recruited elite software engineers and industry-leading biopharma veterans and drug developers to found Genesis Therapeutics

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Dr. Spandan Chennamadhavuni

Emory University – Staff Scientist

Presentation: Novel Macrocyclic Drugs for cancer Treatment – Exploring “beyond rule-of-five (bRo5)” chemical space

Date: October 21st, 2020

Dr. Spandan Chennamadhavuni is currently a staff scientist at Emory University, Atlanta, GA, working in research labs that pushed several HIV combination therapies into the pharmaceutical market. His current research focus has been the development of next-generation nucleoside antiviral therapies for SARS-CoV-2, HBV, HCV, Dengue, RSV, Zika, etc. Before this, he worked at “Med Chem Core” of Harvard Medical School and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA. He discovered several chiral small molecules therapies for the treatment of cocaine addiction, neuropathic pain, and cancer & obtained a Ph.D. from Emory University. He also discovered and optimized several synthetic methodologies.

Dr. Chennamadhavuni has extensive academic research experience and has been extensively involved in several drug discovery and development programs at Emory, Harvard, and Boston Universities. This is reflected by authorship of twelve published papers (ACS JMC, JOC, BMCL, JCI, Oncotarget, Molecules, etc.), five granted international patents, a review article in “Nature Chemical Biology” and two-funded NIH RO1 grants. He is an active reviewer for several peer-reviewed journals and delivered several conference presentations.

His mission is to apply novel enabling technologies of organic synthesis in the development and commercialization of pharmaceutical drugs.

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Dr. Yurong Lai

Gilead Sciences – Sr. Director of Drug Metabolism

Presentation: Model informed compound selection in drug discovery: The Why and How

Date: November 4th, 2020

Dr. Lai is a Sr. Director of Drug Metabolism at Gilead Sciences. He is a fellow of American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists and Adjunct Faculty in the Department of Pharmacy of the University of Rhode Island. His current role in Gilead is to manage DMPK-drug disposition group and implement in vitro/in vivo preclinical and clinical strategies for compound advancement to regulatory filing. He received his M.D from Fujian Medical University in China and his Ph.D. (Toxicology) from Sapporo Medical University in Japan in 1998. Prior to joining Gilead Dr. Lai led research programs at Pfizer and BMS in transporter research and ADME-PK-Tox. He is the associate editor/editorial board member of top ranking DMPK journals including DMD, BDD, JPS and Frontier Pharmacology etc. He is a patent inventor and the author of a book, book chapters and over 150 original publications.

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Dr. Apurba K Bhattacharjee

Georgetown University Medical Center, Georgetown University – Adjunct Associate Professor at the Department of Microbiology and Immunology

Presentation: Pharmacophore modeling for potential drug discovery

Date: October 14th, 2020

Dr. Apurba K Bhattacharjee is currently an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the School of Medicine, Georgetown University Medical Center, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C, U.S.A. Earlier, he was a Senior Scientist at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Maryland, U.S.A and served the institute till 2014 before joining the Georgetown University. He held a Ph.D. from India and a postdoc tenure for 3 years in the Institute of Topology and Dynamics of Systems (Paris, France). Dr. Bhattacharjee has over thirty five years of research experience in Computer Aided Drug Design, particularly in the application of quantum chemistry, pharmacophore modeling, and virtual screening of compound databases for discovery of bioactive compounds. His background of physical chemistry and quantum chemistry in particular enables him for a deep understanding of different algorithms for computations. His special expertise is in the field of molecular electrostatic potential (MEP) and its application in pharmacophore modeling for design and discovery of small molecules as potential hits for drugs. He continues to work in this field till date. His current research interest is in the field of antivirals targeting specifically dengue and Zika viruses and more recently COVID-19. He has authored and coauthored 140 peer reviewed international publications including several book chapters and five patents.

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Dr. Zachary Sun

Tierra Biosciences – CEO and co-founder

Presentation: Cell-free synthetic biology for high-throughput, custom protein production

Date: December 16th, 2020

Zachary Sun is CEO and co-founder of Tierra Biosciences. Zach’s background is in synthetic biology and technology development; his research has been published in Nature and eLife, and his PhD work from Caltech forms the basis of Tierra. Tierra Biosciences is a startup company in San Leandro, CA that works with multiple Global 2000 clients to produce proteins on-demand with its Sol by Tierra product.

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Dr. Corey R. Hopkins

University of Nebraska Medical Center – Associate Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences

Presentation: Discovery of novel PDE4B inhibitors as in vivo tool compounds for cocaine use disorder

Date: November 18th, 2020

Ph.D., is Associate Professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences in the College of Pharmacy at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Dr. Hopkins completed his doctorate in 2002 at the University of Pittsburgh in the area of natural product total synthesis and he developed a novel ring expansion methodology to make pharmacophore analogs of dnacin. Dr. Hopkins moved to Aventis Pharmaceuticals in 2001 and later became Senior Research Investigator in Medicinal Chemistry. In 2008, Dr. Hopkins served as Associate Director of Medicinal Chemistry for the Vanderbilt Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery where he led the chemistry efforts on multiple projects that led to pharmaceutical partnerships and a first-in-class clinical candidate.  Dr. Hopkins has been at UNMC since 2016 where he leads a research group focusing on therapeutic applications of ion channels, GPCRs, and kinases.  Dr. Hopkins is especially interested in diseases of the CNS including: drug addiction, Parkinson’s disease and cancer.

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Dr. Apurba Dutta

University of Kansas – Associate Professor, Medicinal Chemistry

Presentation: Cytotoxic Marine Natural Product Jaspine B: A Medicinal Chemical Investigation

Date: April 14th, 2021

Apurba Dutta received his Ph.D. from the North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong, India. After postdoctoral research stints at the University of Konstanz, Germany, and The University of Kansas, Lawrence, USA, he began his independent research career at the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Hyderabad, India. Subsequently, he relocated to the University of Kansas, and is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry there. Dr. Dutta’s research interests include, medicinal chemical and organic synthetic studies of anti-infective and anti-cancer compounds.

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Dr. Surya K. De

Supra Sciences – Director and an alternate councilor, Supra Sciences

Presentation: Drug Discovery Hit to Lead – Inhibitors of PI-3K/AKT/mTOR Pathway

Date: January 13th, 2021

Surya K. De is a director at Supra Sciences and an alternate councilor at the American Chemical Society, San Diego, California, USA.  Prior to this role, he was principal scientist at Plex Pharmaceuticals and Collidion Inc. He obtained his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Jadavpur University, Kolkata ( India), and worked at the University of Washington (Seattle, USA), Purdue University (West Lafayette, Indiana, USA), and The Scripps Research Institute (La Jolla, USA) prior to joining the Sanford-Burnham-Prebys  Medical Discovery Institute (La Jolla, USA) as a scientist in 2007. His research interests focus on the development of new synthetic methodology in organic synthesis (e.g. multi-step reactions), catalyst development, drug design and discovery, as well as medicinal chemistry. He has authored more than 100 peer reviewed international journal contributions and he holds 15 patents. He is the author of two books: Cancer & You-What Everyone Needs to Know about Cancer and its Prevention (Kindle-Amazon) and Applied Organic Chemistry (Wiley). He is an editorial board member of several journals. Due to his abundant research contributions in the areas of cancer, metabolic diseases, organic and medicinal chemistry, and neuroscience, he earned the distinction of Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (U. K.) in 2010, and was subsequently awarded the status of Chartered Chemist in 2011.

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Dr. Brian Sparling

Accent Therapeutics  – Principal Scientist

Presentation: RNA-Modifying Enzyme Inhibitors as Precision Cancer Therapeutics

Date: March 10th, 2021

Brian completed his BS in Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2008, performing undergraduate research with Prof. Tim Jamison, where he focused on the application of Ni-catalyzed cross-coupling toward total synthesis of diterpenoids. He then obtained his PhD in Organic Chemistry at Harvard University in 2013 under the tutelage of Prof. Matt Shair, where he completed an enantioselective total synthesis of hyperforin, the antidepressant component of the medicinal herb St. John’s wort. From there, he started his industrial career in medicinal chemistry at Amgen in Cambridge, MA. At Amgen, Brian helped advance programs across Amgen’s portfolio in therapeutic areas including neuroscience, inflammation, and cardiovascular disease with a focus on ion channel and kinase targets. He was also the leader of Amgen’s Med Chem Green Chemistry Team and led the medicinal chemistry subteam of the American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute Pharmaceutical Roundtable. Earlier this year, Brian transitioned to exciting world of early stage biotech, where he is currently a Principal Scientist at Accent Therapeutics helping to develop cancer therapeutics by inhibiting RNA-modifying enzymes.

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Dr. Michael Petrassi

California Institute of Biomedical Research  – Vice President of Medicinal Chemistry

Presentation: Translating Innovative Academic Research into Drug Discovery Programs and INDs using Industrial Practices and Standards

Date: April 7th, 2021

Michael Petrassi has 18 years of experience in drug discovery, and medicinal chemistry. Dr. Petrassi is currently a Vice President of Medicinal Chemistry at the California Institute of Biomedical Research at Scripps Research. A passion is to work with biologists, computational experts, chemical biologists & clinicians to translate innovative research into modern drug discovery programs. This expertise has been cultivated during 14 years of pharmaceutical medicinal chemistry combined with a strong training in structure-based design, protein biophysics, chemical biology, and academic collaborations within Scripps Research. A strategic paradigm is to develop a platform containing multiple synergistic projects. The platform strategy has proven successful in delivering on innovative drug discovery programs that have resulted in INDs and advanced into clinical trials in regeneration and oncology.

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Dr. Nicholas A. Meanwell

Bristol Myers Squibb Vice President, Head Discovery Chemistry Platforms Department of Small Molecule Drug Discovery

Presentation: The Discovery of the HIV-1 Attachment Inhibitor Fostemsavir

Date: TBD

Have led drug discovery programs in the cardiovascular, neurosciences and virology therapeutic areas, work that has resulted in the advancement of 33 clinical candidates for the prevention of thrombosis, the treatment of stroke and therapy for viral infections, including human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1), hepatitis C virus (HCV) and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
In the cardiovascular area, significant discoveries included a series of imidazo[4,5-b]quinolin-2-ones that inhibited cAMP phosphodiesterase 3 with BMY-20844 advanced into clinical trials to assess its potential as an antithrombotic agent; a series of non- prostanoid prostacyclin mimetics that were optimized into potent blood platelet aggregation inhibitors, an effort that included mapping of this non-classical PGI2 mimetic pharmacophore that subtends selexipag and ralinepag, as exemplified by BMY-42393 and BMY-45778. In the neurosciences arena, flindokalner (MaxiPost®) emerged from studies of maxi-K potassium channel openers and this compound was advanced into Phase 3 clinical trials for the treatment of stroke.

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Dr. Lore Gruenbaum

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society – VP, Research Therapy Acceleration Program

Presentation: Antibody and Cell Therapies in blood cancer: successes & challenges

Date: December 2nd, 2020

Dr. Lore Gruenbaum joined LLS in 2020 as the Vice President for the Therapy Acceleration Program (TAP), the LLS venture philanthropy program aiming to accelerate high-risk, innovative blood cancer therapeutics. She brings 20 years of drug discovery and clinical development experience to LLS working on small molecules, biologics, RNA-directed and cell therapies in multiple therapeutic areas including oncology, immunology, virology and neuroscience. Most recently, Dr. Gruenbaum was employed as the Vice President, Biology at Gotham Therapeutics pioneering drug discovery in Epitranscriptomics. Prior to this, she was part of the executive leadership team at Applied Biomath where she led collaborative mechanistic modeling projects to accelerate and de-risk drug development for biotech and pharma and acted as the principal investigator on a NIH small business grant. Dr. Gruenbaum held roles of increasing responsibility at Boehringer Ingelheim and Roche Pharmaceuticals driving technical innovation, predictive toxicology, novel mechanistic and biomarker strategies for drug discovery and clinical projects. She completed her Ph.D. at Free University of Berlin with ‘summa cum laude’ and conducted postdoctoral studies at Yale University.

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Dr. Vincent Jacques

DeuteRx, LLC – Sr VP of Research and Early Development

Presentation: Deuterium in drug discovery and development

Date: February 10th, 2021

Vincent Jacques is the Sr VP of Research and Early Development at DeuteRx, LLC, a clinical stage virtual biotech in the Boston hub. He holds a PhD in chemistry. He has over 25 years of experience in academia and in the biotech industry focusing on diagnostic contrast agents and therapeutics. He has been and continues to be involved in all aspects of preclinical discovery and early clinical trials.

At DeuteRx, his interests are in the discovery, preclinical and clinical characterization of deuterium-containing new chemical entities (NCEs) derived from approved drugs or drugs currently in clinical trials with a specific focus on chemically unstable chiral drugs. He is an author or coauthor of over 40 peer-reviewed articles as well as two book chapters. He is also an inventor on more than 20 patents or patent applications.

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Dr. Kin-Hoe Chow

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute – Associate Director of the Center for Patient Derived Models

Presentation: Creation of patient derived cancer models at scale leverages patient diversity for improved clinical trials predictions

Date: December 9th, 2020

I am the Associate Director of the Center for Patient Derived Models (CPDM) at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI). I am involve in the strategic planning and collaboration with researchers and industry partners to advance model science and leverage patient model diversity for improved basic research and clinical trials predictions. Through collaboration with major disease groups in the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Boston Children Hospital Cancer Centers, the Center has advanced specific methodologies for patient derived cell lines (PDCLs), patient derived xenografts (PDXs), and acute cell sensitivity testing of freshly isolated cancer cells to drugs (AST). A distributable inventory of 900+ patient derived models of hematologic and solid tumors generated at DFCI can now be accessed by academic and industrial researchers worldwide with established infrastructural and staffing supports to help researchers to select the best cancer models for their research studies.

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Dr. Uriel Moreno

Stanford University – Scientist

Presentation: Plasticity of Human Natural Killer Cells in the Tumor Microenvironment

Date: March 17th, 2021

Uriel Moreno-Nieves is a Scientist at Stanford University. His research focuses on the study of human intratumoral NK cells and ILCs in head & neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), and on the development of protocols to increase the anti-tumor function of NK cells. Uriel Moreno-Nieves obtained his PhD from the Pasteur Institute, in France, where he studied the anti-HIV response of NK cells in the laboratory of Dr. Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, Nobel Laureate.

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Victor Antontsev

VeriSIM Life – Head of Biosystems Engineering

Presentation: BIOiSIM: Next Generation Hybrid Modeling for Preclinical and Clinical Drug Development

Date: February 10th, 2021

Mr. Victor Antontsev is the Head of Biosystems Engineering at VeriSIM Life (VSL), a SanFrancisco-based firm actively engaged in creating better medicines through intelligence-driven biosystem simulations to truly personalize patient treatment. At VSL, he leads the modeling & simulation efforts, ensuring that model predictions are accurate, scalable, and translatable. He is a chemical engineer by background with experience as a researcher and engineer developing translational technologies in the biotechnology space. Prior to joining VSL, he has worked at Northeastern University and Emulate, Inc. designing fluidic systems for applications in tissue engineering, point-of-care diagnostics, and organs-on-chips. At Emulate, he also led a team of scientists in the development of multiphysics computational models utilized for organ-on-chip platform development, complex data analysis, and design/execution of in vitro pharmaceutical testing studies.

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Dr. Haizhen Liu

BioAtla – Assistant Director of R&D

Presentation: Novel Conditional Active Bispecific T Cell Engagers Targeting Solid Tumors

Date: January 20th, 2021

Dr. Haizhen Liu’s scientific expertise is in the areas of molecular and cellular biology. Dr. Liu is the Assistant Director of R&D at BioAtla. She manages BioAtla’s R&D efforts in China and she leads in vitro functional assay development at BioAtla. Dr. Liu has close to 20 years of experience in scientific leadership at biotechnology companies. She was formerly a senior research scientist at MilliporeSigma (a subsidiary of Merck KGaA), where she led a team in assay development and cellular analysis and participated in product launches and technical support. Prior to working at MilliporeSigma, Dr. Liu was a research scientist at Active Motif, where she established dual detection cell-based ELISA assays allowing simultaneous multiplexing and high throughput detection in cultured cells for key kinase pathways in cell signaling and cancer research.

Dr, Liu earned her B.S. in Biology at Shandong Normal University, M.S. in Biology and Biotechnology at Nanjing University, and Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology at The Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences. Dr. Liu received her postdoctoral  training at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute and Umea University (Sweden).

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Dr. Sreerupa Challa

Cugene – Assistant Director

Presentation: Role of Bi-specific antibodies in next generation anti-tumor Immunotherapies

Date: February 17th, 2021

Sreerupa Challa is an Associate Director at Cugene and is responsible for providing techincal and scientific leadership in immuno-oncology programs. Prior to Cugene, Rupa worked at Spring Bank Phramceuticals and lead the development of STING agonist, SB 11285 as an anticancer innate immune modulator and helped advance it to clinic. Throughout her career, Rupa’s substantial experience in integrating inter-disciplinary knowledge helped to champion resreach portfolio and advance projects. Rupa obtained her BVSc (DVM) degree from India and an MS & PhD, Immunology from University of Connecticut. She has been working in the field of immunology since 2008.

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Dr. Ana Cristina Puhl Rubio

Collaborations Pharmaceuticals – Senior Scientist

Presentation: COVID-19 Drug Discovery at Collaborations Pharmaceuticals

Date: March 3rd, 2021

I am Senior Scientist at Collaborations Pharmaceuticals. I joined the company in 2018 and I am involved in drug discovery projects for rare genetic diseases and neglected diseases. I am passionate about drug discovery and committed to find solutions to improve people’s lives.

My background is crystallography, where I did a PhD at University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, followed by Post-Doctoral studies at GlaxoSmithKline (USA) and University of North Carolina (USA).

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Dr. Bing Xia

GlaxoSmithKline – Investigator

Presentation: DEL-Enabled Discovery of Novel MoA and Structurally Unique IDO1 Inhibitors

Date: TBD

Dr. Bing XIA received his BS in chemistry from the Lanzhou University (China). He completed his PhD graduate work at the Boston University with the widely recognized photochemist, Guilford Jones (pathogen detection, dipolar [3+2] photocycloadditions via ESIPT in collaboration with Professor John Porco, natural product total synthesis, and charge transfer in biomimetic and bioinspired systems). In 2008, Bing joined Encoded Library Technologies (ELTs) at GSK where he has played a key role in a variety of projects, IDO1 and PDE12 for example, across wide range of therapeutic areas. Bing then focused on development of on-DNA chemistry, design and synthesis of on-DNA library, and High-Throughput Binder Confirmation (HTBC). Meanwhile, Bing coinvented a novel cleavable linker for HTBC, which solved critical tech challenges and met urgent business needs. While with GSK, Bing has already won 3 Exceptional Science Awards, 2 Cool Chemistry Finalists, 5 Silver awards and numerous Bronze Awards. Bing published about 20 articles and patents in various fields in esteemed journals, such as Nature Comm., JACS, J. Med. Chem., Organic Letters, J. Clinical Microbiology, J. Biological Chemistry and J. Physical Chemistry.

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Dr. Lewis D. Pennington

Alkermes – Research Fellow

Presentation: Leveraging the Necessary Nitrogen Atom for Multiparameter Optimization in Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery

Date: Nov 18th, 2020

Lewis D. Pennington is a Research Fellow in Medicinal Chemistry at Alkermes in Waltham, Massachusetts. His research interests include drug discovery and defining strategies and tactics for multiparameter optimization in drug design. He previously served a variety of roles as a synthetic and medicinal chemist at Amgen in Thousand Oaks, California, Array BioPharma in Longmont, Colorado, and Eli Lilly & Co. in Indianapolis, Indiana. He earned a B.S. in Chemistry (with Highest Honors in Chemistry) under the guidance of Professor Masato Koreeda at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan and a Ph.D. in Chemistry under the mentorship of Professor Larry Overman at the University of California in Irvine, California.

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Dr. Ian Storer

AstraZeneca – Director of Medicinal Chemistry

Presentation: Fragment screening as an adaptable approach for hit-to-lead generation in medicinal chemistry

Date: TBD

Dr Ian Storer is a Director of medicinal chemistry within AstraZeneca, where he is engaged on a variety of projects across multiple therapy areas. His current research spans the fields of medicinal chemistry, organic synthesis, chemical biology and protein degradation. Prior to joining AstraZeneca in 2016, he spent 10 years as a medicinal chemist with Pfizer supporting lead to candidate projects working across multiple target classes in several disease areas, including enzymes, receptors, solute carriers and ion channels. Before entering industry, he earned his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge with Professor Steven V. Ley working on natural product total synthesis. This was followed by postdoctoral research fellowship at Caltech working with Professor David W. C. MacMillan on the development of new methods for enantioselective organocatalysis. He is an author or inventor on over 70 patent applications and publications.

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