PhoreMost has developed a next-generation phenotypic screening platform called SITESEEKER® that can discern the best new targets for future therapy and crucially, how to drug them. This has the potential to significantly increase the diversity of novel therapeutics for cancer and other unmet diseases. Based on the Company’s core proprietary PROTEINi® technology, SITESEEKER systematically unmasks cryptic druggable sites across the entire human genome and directly links them to useful therapeutic functions in a live-cell context. Using this platform, PhoreMost is building a pipeline of novel drug discovery programmes addressing a range of unmet diseases.
resistanceBio has built the first cancer treatment resistance system to predict how multiple cancer types will respond to approved or novel treatments. The ResCu platform aims only to advance therapies that have the potential to be superior to the standard of care and significantly extend patients’ lives. ResCu addresses the root cause of treatment failure, which is treatment resistance.
Explore cutting edge approaches with the potential to change how we view difficult-to-drug diseases. Bringing the leading experts across multiple disciplines together in one central hub, Next Generation Undruggable will explore shared challenges across all of undruggable with the aim of benefitting the whole industry.
Showcasing the next wave of undruggable innovation with exclusive content. Including protein degradation and molecular glues, transcription factors, oligonucleotide approaches and more, plus interactive sessions on AI and Machine Learning as well as the business and partnerships that make these breakthroughs possible.
Discuss crucial topics & challenges with leading experts from pharma, biotech & academia through panels with Q&A. Get hands-on with your learning with our roundtable sessions, sharing key insights with your senior-level peers. Discover the case studies that are at the forefront of research and innovation fuelling the next wave of undruggable.
Making the once thought to be impossible, possible is critical to creating Innovative and crucial medicine for difficult to drug diseases. I’m looking forward to learning from the minds behind the scientific advancements being made to drug the once undruggable”
Bringing together the individuals and organizations that are striving towards this communal goal of advancing medicine in one place is a powerful prospect. I’m joining the event to learn what the future holds for these important approaches to drugging the undruggable.
In many ways, drugging undruggable targets represents the greatest challenge in healthcare.
Expert Speaker Faculty
Dr. Greg Verdine is a leader in the discovery, development and commercialization of new drug modalities. A passionate and accomplished inventor of novel approaches and drug classes to engage targets widely believed intractable, Dr. Verdine coined the phrase “drugging the undruggable” to describe his life’s mission. FogPharma was born from the new modality scientific work of Dr. Verdine. Together with co-founder WeiQing Zhou, he developed the scientific and business concept for the company and co-led its capitalization and operationalization in mid-2016. Dr. Verdine held the role of Chairman of the Board from company founding until December 2020.
Dr. Verdine is highly regarded for having moved seamlessly between roles as an academic scientist, biotech entrepreneur, investor, and company executive. As Erving Professor at Harvard University and Harvard Medical School, he invented stapled peptides, including the precursor to the Phase II molecule ALRN 6924, and also made seminal contributions to understanding fundamental mechanisms of DNA repair and epigenetic DNA methylation. As an entrepreneur, Dr. Verdine has founded multiple, public biotech companies including Variagenics, Enanta, Eleven Bio, Tokai, Wave Life Sciences, and Aileron, and a private company, Gloucester Pharmaceuticals, that was acquired by Celgene. These companies have succeeded in achieving FDA approval for three marketed drugs.
Dr. Verdine has served on the board of directors of Enanta Pharmaceuticals, Wave Life Sciences, Warp Drive Bio, and LifeMine Therapeutics. Having led the formation and financing of Wave Life Sciences, Warp Drive Bio and LifeMine, Dr. Verdine took a role in managing these companies as their president, chief executive officer and chief scientific officer.
Dr. Verdine earned his Ph.D. in chemistry from Columbia University and served as an NIH postdoctoral fellow in molecular biology at MIT and Harvard Medical School.
Maria has held the position of Head of External Innovation, Therapeutics Discovery in Janssen Research & Development since 2016, leading a global team that is responsible for identifying, shaping, onboarding, and nurturing external partnerships that support Janssen’s innovation strategy. The EI team is operating at the cutting edge of drug discovery technology, enabling productive interactions between external and internal scientists at various levels in the organization.
Before her current role, she served as a member of the Jansen Prevention Management Team, Head of Preventive Interventions and led global teams working to deliver preclinical proof of concept for innovative preventive products, focusing on small molecule drugs and B-cell vaccines. During her tenure, she brought distinguished small molecule discovery expertise to the specific needs related to preventive interventions and played a pivotal role in research that resulted in innovative antibody-guided drug discovery.
Prior to joining Janssen, Maria held scientific positions in pharmaceutical research organizations, including Abbott, Solvay Pharmaceuticals, Biovitrum, Pharmacia Corporation and Pharmacia & Upjohn. She holds M.Sc. and Ph.D. in biophysical chemistry from the Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands.
Steve is an oncology drug discovery expert with experience in both small molecule and biologics discovery and development. He has a deep knowledge of both targeted therapies and immuno-oncology agents, with more than two dozen drugs taken into the clinic and supported the approval of Avonex, Angiomax, Farydak, Keytruda, Tagrisso and Lynparza. Steve joined AZ in 2013 as Head of Oncology Drug Discovery with responsibility for target selection, drug discovery and optimization and overseeing biology, pharmacology, DMPK and chemistry resources, a team of 300 staff. He is also the Site head of the AstraZeneca R&D Boston Biohub based in Waltham, MA. Prior to AZ, Steve was Vice President and Discovery Head for Oncology at Merck. During his tenure at Merck, the group advanced 3 novel drugs into the clinic including the anti-PD1 antibody Pembrolizumab (Keytruda). Before that, Steve spent 5 years as Drug Discovery Head for Novartis Oncology in Cambridge, MA, and in this role, he led efforts that resulted in four INDs and supported the HDAC inhibitor Panobinostat (now Farydak) and 15 years at Biogen, forming and leading the Oncology research group there. Steve obtained his PhD at the University of Leeds, UK and completed post-doctoral fellowships at Rutgers Medical School NJ and the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (now CR-UK) in London.
After joining Abbott in 2011, Niels has held several positions with Abbott and, since its
inception in 2013, AbbVie, currently serving in the Corporate Strategy Office as Vice
President, Global Head of Search & Evaluation. Transactions that his group and Niels
were involved in include acquisitions (Pharmacyclics, Stemcentrx, Allergan), numerous
R&D collaborations, structured acquisitions, option- and licensing agreements, as well as
equity investments made by AbbVie Ventures. Recent (2022) transactions include
partnerships with Syndesi, Gedeon-Richter, Scripps, and Dragonfly.
Prior to joining AbbVie Niels was CEO of BioPheresis, co-founder and COO of immatics
biotechnologies (IMTX), and a consultant with McKinsey & Company.
Niels received his Ph.D. from University of Tuebingen.
As CSO of Early Research, Pascal Fortin oversees research activities that span the early target portfolio and experimental drug discovery platform. Prior to Relay Therapeutics, Pascal served as the head of molecular pharmacology and biological chemistry in oncology at the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research. There, he led a group working at the interface of biochemistry, biophysics and cellular biology, investing significant efforts towards the development of allosteric molecules modulating the function of hard-to-drug cancer targets.
Before joining Novartis, Pascal completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School, where he studied the biosynthetic logic behind natural product biosynthesis. His postdoctoral work led to the discovery of a transglutaminase homologue as a condensation catalyst in antibiotic assembly lines. It also led to a great appreciation of the many ways natural small molecules modulate protein function.
Pascal holds a B.S. in biochemistry from Laval University and a Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia, where he studied the enzymology underlying aromatic compounds catabolism.
Nicola Wilsher is the Vice President of DMPK and Preclinical Development and joined Astex in 2010. Nicola is highly experienced in the pharmaceutical industry, having held roles in large pharma, academia, biotechs and CROs. Nicola is a leader of translational science through LO, preclinical development and on into Phase I clinical trials focusing on biomarkers, PK/PD relationships, safety and human dose prediction. Nicola has a particular interest in the oncology and neurodegeneration disease areas. Nicola contributed to the development of Abiraterone whilst at the Institute of Cancer Research, UK, and has delivered multiple candidates into clinical development. Nicola studied Biopharmacy at King’s College London and gained her PhD at Leicester School of Pharmacy.
Uli Stilz is Vice President of the Novo Nordisk Bio Innovation Hub Transformative Research Unit (TRU) in Boston. In this role he is leading a cross functional R&D team establishing innovative partnerships with biotech, venture capital, and academia to co-create novel therapies and technologies to improve the life of patients with cardiometabolic and rare diseases.
Uli Stilz graduated with a Master degree in Organic Chemistry from ETH Zürich. He then moved to the Max-Planck-Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried, where he received his Ph.D. in 1990.
After postdoctoral studies at the California Institute of Technology he joined Hoechst AG were he held various positions before he was appointed Associate Vice President of the newly established Innovation unit within the Diabetes Division at Sanofi in 2010. Over a period of 20 years he contributed to more than 60 preclinical and clinical drug candidates across cardiometabolic, immunology, and oncology therapy areas.
In 2014 he joined Novo Nordisk A/S in Copenhagen, relocated to Boston in 2019, and assumed his current role as Vice President of the Novo Nordisk Bio Innovation Hub TRU in 2021.
Uli Stilz was appointed adjunct professor at the University of Frankfurt in 2012. He serves on various Editorial Boards for international peer-reviewed journals, is member of Scientific Advisory Boards in North America and Europe, and has represented Novo Nordisk A/S at trade organizations (EFPIA). Between 2012 and 2014 he was President of the European Federation for Medicinal Chemistry.
Adrian aspires to not only be a great medicinal chemistry leader, but a leader of great medicinal chemists. Adrian has over 23 years of drug discovery and development experience in senior roles across a diverse range of disease areas in both large pharma and biotech environments, having worked previously for Roche, Astex Therapeutics and AstraZeneca, where he was the head of medicinal chemistry for the CVMD iMed in Molndal, Sweden.
During his career to date, Adrian has been heavily involved in the identification of multiple clinical candidates across a variety of disease areas including RMC-4630, Revolution Medicines first development candidate selectively targeting SHP2 and more recently RMC-5552 which selectively targets mTORC1. Adrian was also a core member of the cell cycle kinase alliance between Astex and Novartis that ultimately led to the discovery of a dual kinase inhibitor approved by the FDA in combination treatment of HR+/HER2- advanced breast cancer. In addition, Adrian has authored over 20 publications in peer-reviewed journals, is a named inventor on over 40 issued and pending small molecule patent applications and has given multiple invited presentations at national and international conferences. Adrian received his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Sussex, U.K., where he focused on synthetic methodology towards the total synthesis of rapamycin, and has a bachelor’s degree in applied chemistry from the University of Salford, U.K. Adrian is a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry, the American Chemical Society and an invited member of the AACR Chemistry in Cancer Research (CICR) Steering Committee.
Nicki has over 25 years’ experience in pharmaceutical and biotechnology R&D in a variety of senior scientific and leadership roles. She was previously VP and Global Head of External Drug Discovery at F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd and prior to that, Senior Director, Business Development for GSK’s Centre of Excellence for External Drug Discovery (CEEDD). Nicki’s Biotech experience includes her role as Chair of the Board for Nanna Therapeutics Ltd, founding CEO of VirionHealth and Head of Drug Discovery at Syntaxin Ltd. She holds a PhD in Cell Biology from University College London.
Gwenn M. Hansen, Ph.D. currently serves as Chief Scientific Officer of Nurix Therapeutics, a biotechnology company focused on discovering and developing protein modulation therapies for the treatment of cancer and other serious diseases. Since joining Nurix in January of 2016, Gwenn has focused on developing a robust pipeline for early stage discovery by developing a platform based on DNA encoded chemistry technology and leveraging it across a range of target classes, particularly E3 ubiquitin ligases. Prior to joining Nurix, Gwenn was an Associate Professor in the Center for Drug Discovery at Baylor College of Medicine and prior to that she served as Senior Director of Drug Discovery Technologies at Lexicon Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Hansen obtained a Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Tennessee/Oak Ridge National Laboratory and completed post-doctoral study at Baylor College of Medicine and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.
Josh Mandel-Brehm is President & Chief Executive Officer of CAMP4 Therapeutics.
Mr. Mandel-Brehm previously held key business development and operations leadership roles at leading biotech companies. Most recently he served as part of the Business Development group at Biogen, where he led multiple strategic activities and corresponding transactions. Prior to Biogen, Mr. Mandel-Brehm held several roles of increasing responsibility at Genzyme as part of the business development group for the company’s rare disease business unit. He serves on the board of Vico Therapeutics and ProMIS Neurosciences.
Mr. Mandel-Brehm earned a BA in Biology from Washington University in St. Louis and holds an MBA from the University of Michigan.
Dr. Randy Teel is Senior Vice President, Corporate and Business Development at Arvinas, Inc., and is responsible for corporate strategy, business development, commercial, and communications.
Previously, Dr. Teel was VP and Head of Strategy at Alexion Pharmaceuticals, where he was responsible for long-range planning, partnering with the R&D and Commercial organizations as they developed inline and lifecycle management strategies.
Prior to Alexion, Dr. Teel was an Associate Partner at McKinsey & Company, where he advised biopharmaceutical clients on issues in commercial, medical, and clinical development. He also served numerous other clients in the healthcare industry, including device manufacturers, insurers, and pharmaceutical distributors.
Dr. Teel received a Ph.D in Immunobiology from Yale University and a B.S. in Biology from Gonzaga University.
Neil Dhawan is the Co-founder and CEO of Totus Medicines, where he focuses on combining small molecule design, structural biology, genetics, biochemistry, and cell biology to design new classes of drugs to target untreatable diseases.
Prior to founding Totus Medicines, Neil co-founded Dual Therapeutics, a venture-backed biotechnology company developing the first phosphatase agonists for cancer patients. Neil co-invented and helped develop the lead drug program, small molecule agonists of PP2A, which led to a collaboration deal with Bristol Myers Squibb valued at up to $225 million.
Ben joined PhoreMost in 2019 to direct the evolution and development of the SITESEEKER® screening platform. He is a geneticist and biotechnologist, with over ten years of professional research and management experience.
Before joining PhoreMost, Ben founded Horizon Discovery’s functional genomic screening platform. Using both pooled and arrayed approaches and both RNAi and CRISPR, Ben led the platform’s growth from inception to an internationally acclaimed and multi-million-pound revenue-generating group, executing hundreds of screens per year.
Ben completed his PhD at the University of Manchester with postdoctoral training at the University of Cambridge exploring the mechanisms of control in the unfolded protein response using reverse chemical genetic screening.
Dr. Stuart has served as Scorpion Therapeutics’ Chief Scientific Officer since April 2020. Prior to joining the company, Dr. Stuart was Executive Director of Cancer Biology and Drug Discovery at Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research (“Novartis”) between 2019 and 2020 and served in various other leadership roles at Novartis between 2006 and 2019.
Christian joined PhoreMost in June 2021 as Vice President of Biology and was subsequently promoted to Chief Scientific Officer at the end of 2021. Prior to this he served as Associate Director at Cancer Research UK’s Therapeutic Discovery Laboratories where he acted as programme director for a number of drug discovery alliances with pharmaceutical partners. As part of the senior leadership team at CRUK he oversaw the progression of its portfolio of small molecule and therapeutic antibody, three of which have recently progressed to clinical development. Additionally, Christian has led scientific negotiations with commercial partners resulting in several high value partnerships for CRUK.
Christian is a biologist by training with over 16 years of experience working at the interface between academia and industry. He has sat on a number of oncology target funding and review panels and is currently a member of Deep Science Ventures’ Scientific Advisory Board. Christian obtained his first degree in Biology from Imperial College, received his PhD from University College London, before pursuing postdoctoral research at the Medical Research Council Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology.
Horst has worked since 2013 at NIBR, as Executive Director and is responsible for Global Hit Generation Sciences. He leads global teams of medicinal chemists and molecular biologists with the mission to explore novel chemical space with innovative technologies like (DEL, In vitro expression of peptides and biosynthetic pathways in heterologous microbial hosts).
Horst is by training bioorganic and synthetic organic chemist. He received his P.h.D. at the University in Freiburg. He started his professional career at Hoechst AG in Germany and collected extensive experience in Medicinal Chemistry and technologies. He continued his career at Eli Lilly in Indianapolis where he led key initiatives developing novel screening strategies and chemistry automation. As Senior Director of the Quantitative Biology group he worked with a talented team of biologists on in vitro screening strategies for major target families.
Natalia Ulyanova leads Astellas’ Oncology Business Development Search and Evaluation since June 2018. Prior to Astellas she worked in business development roles at Boston’s based corporate strategic advisory firm Extera Partners, molecular diagnostics company Metamark Genetics and Health IT-based biospecimen provider Novaseek Research. Natalia received her PhD degree in Biochemistry at Tufts University in 2006 and Diploma in Chemistry from Novosibirsk State University in 1999.
As Senior Vice President, Head of Drug Discovery at Kymera Therapeutics, Chris is responsible for medicinal and computational chemistry, lead discovery (biochemistry, biophysics, structural biology), pre-clinical development (DMPK and Toxicology) and proteomics. His team contributes to all drug discovery phases at Kymera from project inception through to clinical candidate discovery and beyond. Prior to joining Kymera, Chris was head of chemistry at Blueprint Medicines, a precision medicine company specialized in kinase drug discovery and development. Chris has deep experience in leading discovery research groups and project teams in both global pharmaceutical and biotech companies. He has directly contributed to the invention of 9 clinical candidate drugs for oncology and inflammation disease – most recently BLU-945, a EGFR T790M/C797S triple mutant inhibitor for the treatment of lung cancer, AZD4573, a selective CDK9 inhibitor for the treatment of haematological malignancies and AZD9496, an oral, selective estrogen receptor degrader for the treatment of ER+ breast cancer. He co-discovered Barasertib (AZD1152), a selective Inhibitor of Aurora B kinase for the treatment of AML. He is an author of over 50 peer-reviewed publications and patents in the fields of medicinal chemistry and drug discovery and a PhD qualified chemist who has previously held academic positions at Queens’ College Cambridge and University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.
Dr. Crackower is the Chief Scientific Officer of Ventus Therapeutics. He brings to Ventus more than 20 years of drug discovery leadership experience, which includes deep expertise in the fields of respiratory, immunology and fibrotic disease drug discovery.
Prior to Ventus, Michael was an entrepreneur-in-residence at Versant Ventures where he played an instrumental role in the formation of Ventus. Prior to joining Versant, Michael held the position of Executive Director and head of late immunology drug discovery and fibrosis research at Celgene where he led preclinical drug discovery in Immunology and Inflammation. Prior to Celgene, Michael was Director of research for tissue injury and fibrosis at Biogen. Michael spent much of his early career working at Merck & Co as a Director in the respiratory and immunology department.
Michael has a BSc in biochemistry from the University of Western Ontario and a PhD in molecular and medical genetics from the University of Toronto, working in the lab of Dr. Lap-Chee Tsui and the Hospital for Sick Children. Michael conducted his postdoctoral studies at the Amgen Institute (PMH), where he made seminal discoveries in cardiovascular and reproductive biology.
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