American Cancer Society Professor of MCDB, Chemistry & Pharmacology
Dr. Crews is the American Cancer Society Professor of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology and holds joint appointments in the departments of Chemistry and Pharmacology at Yale University. He graduated from the U. Virginia with a B.A. in Chemistry and received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in Biochemistry. Dr. Crews has a foothold in both the academic and biotech arenas; on the faculty at Yale since 1995, his laboratory pioneered the use of small molecules to control intracellular protein levels. His first company, Proteolix, developed the proteasome inhibitor, Kyprolis™ for the treatment of multiple myeloma. His second venture, Arvinas, applies his lab’s PROTAC ‘induced protein degradation’ technology to drug development. He has received numerous awards and honors, including the CURE Entrepreneur of the Year Award (2013), Ehrlich Award for Medicinal Chemistry (2014), Yale Cancer Center Translational Research Prize (2015), a NIH R35 Outstanding Investigator Award (2015), the AACR Award for Outstanding Achievement in Chemistry in Cancer Research (2017), the Khorana Prize from the Royal Society of Chemistry ( 2018), the Pierre Fabre Award for Therapeutic Innovation (2018), the Pharmacia-ASPET Award for Experimental Therapeutics (2019) and was named an American Cancer Society Professor in 2018.
Professor of Chemical & Structural Biology
University of Dundee
Alessio Ciulli research interests are on the development of small molecules targeting protein-protein interactions (PPIs) and inducing protein degradation. His group has made significant contributions to selective chemical intervention on important PPI targets. Initially in collaboration with the Crews Lab, they pioneered the structure-guided design of drug-like ligands for the von Hippel-Lindau E3 ligase. This discovery helped to realize targeted protein degradation as a revolutionary new modality for therapeutic intervention and has led to significant commercial impact across academia and biopharma worldwide. In 2009 Alessio started his independent career and his Alessio’s Lab has illuminated important structural and mechanistic insights into the molecular recognition and mode of action of PROTAC degrader molecules.
Senior Director, Discovery Sciences, Design & Synthesis Sciences
Adam joined the Pfizer in February 2010 as an Associate Research Fellow and a labhead in charge of the Experimental Design Chemistry (EDC) – a group that focused on key portfolio projects with challenging medicinal chemistry design issues including covalent inhibitors, allosteric GPCR modulators and chemoproteomics. EDC helped drive candidate molecule discovery for programs in Rare Diseases, Neuroscience and Immunology highlighted by PF-06651600, a covalent JAK3 inhibitor currently in Phase 2b/3 trials for Alopecia Areata. Adam is currently a Senior Director in in charge of Pfizer’s Design and Synthesis Sciences (DSS) Group. DSS is platform medchem group located in Pfizer’s Discovery Sciences Department in Groton, CT which helps drive key Pfizer initiatives such as protein degradation, DNA-encoded library chemistry and selection analysis, phenotypic screening, vaccine protein design and small molecule purification.
Professor of Cell Biology
Harvard Medical School
Dr. Goldberg, a Professor of Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School, has been on the faculty of that institution for nearly his entire academic career. His important discoveries have concerned the biochemical mechanisms and physiological regulation of protein breakdown in cells and the importance of this process in human disease. His laboratory first demonstrated the non-lysosomal ATP-dependent pathway for protein breakdown, now termed the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway. They first demonstrated the involvement of the 20S and 26S proteasomes in this process and discovered the ATP-dependent proteases responsible for protein degradation in bacteria and mitochondria. Also of wide impact have been Dr. Goldberg’s studies first showing that the ubiquitin proteasome pathway is critical in the clearance of misfolded proteins and in muscle atrophy seen in many disease states as well as in antigen presentation to the immune system.
Vice President of Neuroscience and Platform Biology
Angela Cacace, Ph.D. is the Vice President of Neuroscience and Platform Biology at Arvinas. Angela brings more than two decades of biopharmaceutical research and pharmacology experience, contributing to four marketed drugs and over 18 development candidates. Angela previously served as the Vice President of Biology at Fulcrum Therapeutics to build the biology platform. Previously, Angela was the Director of Neuroscience and Genetically Defined Diseases at Bristol-Myers Squibb where she spearheaded alternative therapeutic modalities and was a coinventor on several patents. Throughout her 19 years at Bristol-Myers Squibb, she has held multiple leadership positions, where she was responsible for building research-wide teams and initiatives including the Lead Profiling Function, GPCR High Throughput Screening Team and the Cellular Resource Team. While serving as a Sr. Principal Scientist in Cancer Biology at Pfizer, together with her team, she discovered a novel anti-angiogenic antibody candidate. Angela received her Ph.D. in pharmacology from Columbia University and completed her postdoctoral research at the National Cancer Institute.
Chief Executive Officer
Arthur T. Sands, M.D., Ph.D. has served as the Chief Executive Officer at Nurix and a member of Nurix Therapeutics’ board of directors since September, 2014. Dr. Sands and his management have completed strategic collaborations and investment rounds for the development and commercialization of novel E3 ligase-modulating drugs providing more than $300 million in capital. Prior to joining Nurix, Dr. Sands co-founded Lexicon Pharmaceuticals and served as President, Chief Executive Officer and a Director from 1995 to 2014. At Lexicon, Dr. Sands pioneered the development of large-scale gene knockout technology for use in drug discovery and guided the evolution of Lexicon from a research-stage company to a drug development company Dr. Sands holds an M.D. and a Ph.D. from Baylor College of Medicine and a B.A. in economics and political science from Yale University.
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Behnam Nabet, Ph.D. is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Nathanael Gray at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Dr. Nabet received his Ph.D. in Cancer Biology from Northwestern University and B.A. in Biology from the University of Pennsylvania. In his postdoctoral research, Dr. Nabet developed a generalizable technology platform known as the dTAG system to rapidly degrade any target protein of interest. The dTAG system pairs potent small molecule degraders and extensible tagging strategies to achieve selective degradation of divergent proteins. This technology facilitates biological exploration and drug target validation in cells and animal models. Dr. Nabet is currently applying the dTAG platform to investigate pancreatic cancer dependencies and has been sharing the technology with the global scientific community in an open-source manner. Dr. Nabet is supported by an American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellowship and is a recipient of the Claudia Adams Barr Program for Innovative Cancer Research award.
Chief Scientific Officer
Brian Jones has more than 25 years of drug discovery experience and has led the molecular discovery behind more than 20 INDs across several therapeutic areas. Most recently he was an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Third Rock Ventures, formally joining Cedilla as CSO at launch. Prior to that, Brian spent 11 years at Novartis, where he was Head of Discovery Chemistry for NIBR in Cambridge, MA and 16 years at Merck, initially as director of medicinal chemistry in Rahway, N.J. and subsequently as senior director at the Neuroscience Research Centre in the UK. Brian holds a Ph.D. in chemistry from Imperial College, London. He was a NATO post-doctoral fellow at Yale University.
Senior Research Investigator, Lead Discovery and Optimization
Charu Chaudhry has been at Bristol Myers Squibb for 8 years and is currently a Group Leader in Lead Discovery and Optimization. She and her team utilize in vitro pharmacology, enzymology, kinetics and mechanism of action to drive drug discovery within the oncology/IO, immunology, fibrosis and cardiovascular disease areas. She received her undergraduate training in Chemistry at M.I.T, and holds a Ph.D. in Biophysics from Yale University. She was a Helen Hay Whitney post-doctoral fellow at the N.I.H., using a combination of X-ray crystallography and mechanistic biochemistry to understand structure-function relationships across various target classes including molecular chaperones.
Vice President, Chemistry
Chris joined C4 Therapeutics in February 2016 and serves in the role of Vice President, Chemistry. Most recently Chris was at the Broad Institute, where he led a group of medicinal chemists in projects in the cancer, metabolism, and autophagy disease areas at the Center for the Development of Therapeutics. Prior to the Broad, Dr. Nasveschuk was an integral member of the team at Constellation Pharmaceuticals where he co-invented the EZH2 inhibitor CPI-1205 and helped to discover and develop the BET inhibitor CPI-0610. He holds a PhD in Organic Chemistry from Colorado State University and a BS in Chemistry from Middlebury College.
Executive Director, Worldwide Research and Development; Principal
Christopher O’Donnell, PhD is currently responsible for managing our investments in Adapsyn, BioAtla, Kymera, MindImmune, Morphic, Petra, Strata Oncology and Storm Therapeutics (UK). Chris brings 20 years of scientific leadership, a strong track record of delivering clinical candidates across multiple disease areas and modalities, and proven ability to build and lead highly engaged teams. Prior to Pfizer Ventures, Chris built and led the Applied Synthesis Technologies group within Pfizer R&D to help accelerate the delivery of Pfizer’s small molecule portfolio. Prior to that, Chris built and led Pfizer’s Antibody Drug Conjugate Oncology Medicinal Chemistry group which delivered new linker, payload and conjugation methods resulting in over 7 conjugates entering clinical development. Chris started his career in the Neuroscience Medicinal Chemistry group where he invented and helped deliver numerous clinical candidates, with the most advanced being the AMPA positive allosteric modulator that was recently licensed to Biogen.
Business Development Associate
Dr. Dahmane Ouazia has over 7 years of experience in the protein quality control field. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Quebec At Montreal in the lab of Dr. Alexandre Desrosiers, with a focus on protein repair in Parkinson’s Disease model. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania in the lab of Dr. Luca Busino, with a focus on an E3 ligase playing the role of molecular switch in inflammation. His interest and expertise in protein quality control enabled him to join the LifeSensors team with a role consisting in educating prospective clients and collaborators on the products, services, and the R&D aspect of the company.
University of California, Berkeley
Dan Nomura is an associate professor in the Departments of Chemistry, Molecular and Cell Biology, and Nutritional Sciences and Toxicology at the University of California, Berkeley. He is also an associate adjunct professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry at UCSF. He is also the director of the Novartis-Berkeley Center for Proteomics and Chemistry Technologies. He earned his B.A. in Molecular and Cell Biology and Ph.D. in Molecular Toxicology at UC Berkeley with Professor John Casida and was a postdoctoral fellow at The Scripps Research Institute with Professor Ben Cravatt before returning to Berkeley as a faculty member in 2011. Among his honors are selection as a Searle Scholar, American Cancer Society Research Scholar Award, the Department of Defense Breakthroughs Award, and the Mark Foundation for Cancer Research ASPIRE award. The Nomura Research Group is focused on redefining druggability using chemoproteomic platforms to tackle the undruggable proteome.
Vice President and Research Site Head Austria
Darryl McConnell is currently Vice President and Research Site Head at Boehringer-Ingelheim Regional Centre Vienna, Austria. His goal is to discover new chemical therapeutics for cancer’s so-called undruggable targets together with the team at BI. Darryl’s interests lie in drugging protein-protein interactions, kinases and pushing the frontiers of PROTAC for cancer patients. Fragment screening, protein crystallography, protein NMR, cancer biology, drug resistance, agile methods in drug discovery and natural product inspired medicinal chemistry are some of his areas of scientific interest. Darryl commenced his career with Boehringer-Ingelheim in 2002 as a Research Laboratory Head and is in his current role since 2015. Prior to this Darryl has worked for Intervet in Vienna from 2001, for Biota Holdings Ltd in Melbourne, Australia from 1999 in the area of respiratory viruses and Chiron Technologies in Melbourne from 1997.
Co-Director DFCI Center for Protein Degradation
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Eric Fischer, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at Harvard Medical School and a Principal Investigator in the Department of Cancer Biology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. His research focuses on understanding the complex mechanisms that underlie function and regulation of multi-component ubiquitin ligases and their role in disease. His work further focuses on new therapeutic approaches such as targeted protein degradation. He co-directs the DFCI Center for Protein Degradation.
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Fleur Ferguson is a postdoctoral fellow at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Her research focuses on the development of chemical tools for interrogating the biological function and therapeutic potential of disease targets in cancer and neurodegeneration. Fleur received her M.Sc in chemistry from Imperial College London, and her Ph.D in chemistry from the University of Cambridge.
Chief Scientific Officer
Frank Mercurio has over 25 years of research experience studying the molecular mechanisms underlying cancer and inflammation. Frank was Senior Director of Discovery Biology at Celgene where he initiated and successfully managed numerous Target and Drug Discovery programs. Among his key discoveries, Frank’s team elucidated the mechanistic process regulating activation of the NF-kB signaling pathway, which plays a critical role in the onset and progression of many types of cancer and inflammation. This program resulted in the identification of several novel therapeutic targets within the NF-kB pathway, creating several internal and partnered drug discovery programs. Frank also pioneered the development of an internal E3 Ubiquitin Ligase Program to identify small molecule modulators of protein degradation, an emerging area of drug development with enormous therapeutic potential. Another major focus of Frank's work was to develop technologies that enable the elucidation of drug mechanism of action. While at Celgene, he implemented these technologies to advance the understanding of Thalidomide and Lenalidomide mechanism of action.
Vice President, Drug Discovery Technologies
Gwenn Hansen is currently Vice President of Drug Discovery Technologies at Nurix Therapeutics, a company focused on discovering and developing next-generation therapies that target protein homeostasis through modulation of the ubiquitin proteasome system. Since joining Nurix more than 3 years ago, Gwenn has focused on establishing the company’s DNA encoded library technology platform for small molecule discovery, and leads teams of scientists in both early discovery as well as medicinal chemistry. Prior to joining Nurix, Gwenn spent one year as an Associate Professor in the Center for Drug Discovery at Baylor College of Medicine and over 13 years in a variety of discovery-focused roles at Lexicon Pharmaceuticals, both located in Houston, Texas.
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Pin Therapeutics, Inc., South San Francisco, CA, USA (2017-Current) Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Labqna, Inc., San Jose, CA, USA (2016-2017) Founding Partner of Embedbio, LLC (The Early-Stage Investment Company Specialized in Biotech and Healthcare Sectors), Palo Alto, CA, USA (2015-Current) EDUCATION AND TRAINING Postdoctoral Fellow of Medicine, J David Gladstone Institute (UCSF), CA, USA (2012-2015) PhD of Biological Sciences, Seoul National University (Metabolic Diseases), Korea 2004-2011 Bachelor of Chemistry (Double Major), Seoul National University, Korea 1997-2003 Bachelor of Biological Sciences, Seoul National University, Korea 1997-2003
Chief Scientific Officer
Dr. Taylor is the Senior Vice President, Biology at Arvinas. He came to the Company after nearly 10 years at Pfizer Oncology, most recently as an Early Development Team Leader. In this role, Dr. Taylor was responsible for leading a cross-functional drug development team that conducted Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical trials for multiple assets in several cancer indications. His initial role at Pfizer Oncology was as Senior Director of Translational Oncology. In this role, he was responsible for directing translational science activities, which included designing and executing translational research plans and leading companion diagnostic partnerships for programs in both preclinical and clinical (Phase 1 -3) stages
University of Nottingham
Ingrid Dreveny is a structural biologist in the School of Pharmacy at the University of Nottingham with a key interest in establishing protein structure-function relationships, the molecular basis of disease processes, the specificity of enzymes, molecular mechanisms of ligand recognition and drug discovery. Mainly focusing on posttranslational modification (PTM) pathway enzymes, her research led to the discovery of the molecular basis of AAA ATPase p97 – UBX domain recognition, how PTMs are read by a chromatin reader through inducing helical structure in histone tails, and more recently deciphering novel ways of how ubiquitin specific proteases interact with ligands including inhibitors and phage display derived peptides with a view of better understanding their function and how they can be targeted for drug discovery.
Senior Scientist and Project Team Leader
Ingrid Wertz began her career at Genentech as an NIH Biotechnology Training grant intern and had the opportunity to complete her graduate studies at Genentech. Here she witnessed the transformation of scientific discoveries into therapeutic agents and learned that rigorous scientific experimentation is the foundation for rational drug design. During her medical training, Dr. Wertz experienced how illness can transform the lives of patients and saw first-hand the impact that effective medicines can have. After completing her graduate and medical studies, Dr. Wertz chose to return to Genentech as a scientist in order to help patients through scientific discoveries. Her research aims are to understand the molecular basis of normal physiology and of disease, with a focus on the Ubiquitin System, and to translate those findings into efficacious therapeutics.
Senior Vice President for Global Research
Dr. Deshaies received his bachelor's degree in biochemistry from Cornell University and his Ph.D. degree in biochemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, followed by postdoctoral work at the University of California, San Francisco. His honors include the American Society for Cell Biology–Promega Early Career Life Scientist of the Year Award for 1999 and election to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and National Academy of Sciences. For two decades, Dr. Deshaies' lab at Caltech/Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigated the cellular machinery that mediates protein degradation by the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS), and how this machinery regulates cell division. During this time, Dr. Deshaies, in collaboration with Dr. Craig Crews, hatched the idea for Protacs. In 2017 Dr. Deshaies left Caltech/HHMI to join Amgen, where he is SVP for Global Research. In addition to his academic work, Dr. Deshaies co-founded Proteolix (with Craig Crews) in 2003 and Cleave Biosciences in 2011.
Scientific & Business Development Director
Jason co-founded Ubiquigent in 2009 in collaboration with the University of Dundee, the Medical Research Council and Stemgent Inc. Before starting Ubiquigent he was part of a biotech investment and operations group and involved in supporting a molecular diagnostics, kinase drug discovery and various other drug discovery-focused service companies as well as evaluating investment opportunities. Prior to this he built and ran a kinase-focused assay development and drug discovery service facility for Upstate Biotechnology, a leading provider of cell signalling research products and services. Jason received his MPhil and DPhil from the University of Cambridge in association with Parke-Davis/Warner-Lambert (Pfizer), during which he identified a voltage-dependent calcium channel subunit as the molecular target of the blockbuster epilepsy and neuropathic pain drugs Neurontin and Lyrica. After his DPhil Jason worked in and subsequently ran an assay development group for Parke-Davis.
Corporate Vice President, Chemistry
Larry Hamann is currently Corporate Vice President and Global Head of Chemistry at Celgene, with responsibility for Medicinal and Computational Chemistry, Biochemistry, Structural and Chemical Biology and Screening. In > 27 years of drug discovery experience he has led teams responsible for more than 16 clinical stage compounds, including the FDA approved DPP4 inhibitor saxagliptin (Onglyza™) for type 2 diabetes, and first-in-class HCV NS5A inhibitor daclatasvir (Daklinza™) for hepatitis C. At Celgene, his teams have advanced a number of molecules into the clinic in oncology and autoimmune disease. Prior to Celgene, Larry was Executive Director, Global Discovery Chemistry at Novartis, overseeing programs in oncology, neuroscience, respiratory, cardiovascular, and rare genetic disease. Among the compounds from these efforts that continue to advance in clinical trials are branaplam – an investigational Phase II oral drug for treatment of Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a rare and fatal genetic disease, and LSZ102 – a Selective Estrogen Receptor Degrader (SERD) for ER+ breast cancer. Previously, Larry was at Bristol-Myers Squibb and Ligand Pharmaceuticals. Larry is co-inventor on > 70 patents and co-author on > 75 scientific publications, and serves on the NIH Study Section for Synthetic and Biological Chemistry. Larry holds a BS in Chemistry from the University of Detroit and a PhD in Organic Chemistry from the University of Michigan.
Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Houston is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Arvinas, a biotech company based in New Haven, Connecticut. Previously, he was the SVP of Specialty Discovery at Bristol Myers Squibb. He spent over 18 years at BMS in roles of increasing responsibility and had accountability for all discovery biology disease teams as well as various discovery technology departments. He also served as the site head of the BMS Connecticut facility. He was a member of the BMS R&D Executive Leadership team and chaired the Target Portfolio Committee which had governance oversight in the discovery space. Prior to joining BMS, Dr. Houston worked at Glaxo Welcome Research and Development in the UK, where he was head of the Lead Discovery Unit. John has over 30 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry.
Chief Executive Officer
Trained as a physicist, Swamy specializes in tools and techniques development for biology. His experience includes leading teams across enzymology, informatics, chemistry and engineering.
Junior Fellow, Harvard Society of Fellows
Harvard Medical School
Dr. Ramachandran started his scientific career as a 15 year old, working at the University of Texas at Austin. He subsequently received his undergraduate degrees from Duke University and pursued his graduate work at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Dr. Ramachandran made the discovery of a neuronal-specific mechanism of protein degradation that generates a new class of neuromodulators. As a Principal Investigator at Harvard Medical School, his lab is paving the way forward in this burgeoning field, identifying the mechanisms underlying this new system. In his free time, he runs to burn off his newfound abilities of baking and drinks excessive amounts of coffee that he roasts at home.
Senior Research Scientist, R&D
Kristin received her PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, where she studied the structural and mechanical properties of collagen fibers and their effects on breast cancer cell migration in invasive ductal carcinoma. She joined Promega in 2014 as a postdoctoral researcher and is currently a Senior Scientist developing technologies to characterize degradation and protein interactions within the ubiquitin proteasomal pathway in living cells.
Chief Scientific Officer
Dr. Kurt Gish is co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer at Trilo Therapeutics. He earned his Ph.D. in Biology at Stanford University in the laboratory of Charley Yanofsky, followed by a post-doctoral fellowship in molecular immunology at the DNAX Research Institute (now Merck Palo Alto). Kurt started his career in cancer research with scientist positions at Affymetrix and Eos Biotechnology, followed by positions as Director of Biologics Technologies at PDL BioPharma and Research Fellow at AbbVie. With >20 years’ experience in target discovery and therapeutics development, he has led two products from concept into phase I human trials and is the inventor on 24 issued US patents and author on 18 peer-reviewed articles.
Chief Technology Officer
Dr. Chan has extensive experience in physical and life sciences that includes both drug discovery and diagnostics, from a start-up diagnostic company (NovaDx) to a top five biopharmaceutical company (Celgene) where he headed Discovery Research. He co-founded NovaDx in 1994, a diagnostic company that developed a novel biomarker assay currently marketed by Quidel for arthritis and breast cancer. While at Celgene, Dr. Chan led efforts to study the mechanism-of-action of Thalidomide and Lenalidomide (Revlimid®) using clinically relevant cellular models and to incorporate these compounds into translational studies to identify novel clinical uses. At Signal Research Division of Celgene, Dr. Chan built and headed technology programs in genomics, proteomics, and informatics as well as successfully managed therapeutic programs in virology, estrogen physiology, and the development of small molecule modulators of epigenetic programming and adult stem cells for regenerative medicine. He has served on advisory boards for a number of biotech companies. Dr. Chan received his Ph.D. in electroanalytical chemistry from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
Japan National Institute of Genetics
2001 PhD, Graduate School of Science and Technology, Chiba University 2001 to 2006: Post-doc, Cancer Research UK 2006 to 2010: Assistant Professor, Osaka University 2010 to 2016: Associate Professor, National Institute of Genetics 2016 to current: Professor, National Institute of Genetics
Melanie Patterson has worked in Drug Discovery for 10 years and currently leads a cross-disciplinary team of bio-analytical scientists to support multiple therapeutic programs within AbbVie (North Chicago, IL). Most recently, her team has explored the relationship between protein degradation and MHC class I peptide presentation using mass spectrometry for immunopeptide identification and relative abundance measurements.
Scientific Applications Manager
Chemical Computing Group
Michael Drummond received his Ph.D. from The Ohio State University, followed by postdoctoral appointments at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of North Texas. His current research interests include modeling PROTAC-mediated protein degradation, enzyme engineering, and QSPR for antibody developability. He is currently the Scientific Applications Manager for Chemical Computing Group.
Vice President, Medicinal Chemistry
Michael Plewe is Vice president of Medicinal Chemistry at Cullgen Inc., a company dedicated to the development of novel approaches for targeted protein degradation in oncology and immune disease. Before joining Cullgen in 2018, he was the Head of Chemistry at Arisan Therapeutics, a start-up focused on developing novel treatments for neglected viral diseases. Prior to Arisan, he was an Associate Research Fellow and project leader at Pfizer Inc. working in multiple therapeutic areas including oncology, ophthalmology, diabetes, and infectious diseases such as HIV. He was a medicinal chemist at Agouron and atVical, a gene therapy company. Dr. Plewe completed his postdoctoral training at the University of California at Irvine and earned his Ph. D. and Diploma in organic chemistry from the University of Konstanz in Germany.
Executive Director, Translational Medicine
Dr. Pourdehnad joined Celgene Translational Development, Hematology & Oncology in August 2013. He is the clinical lead on multiple cereblon modulating drugs currently in early development. Prior to Celgene, Dr. Pourdehnad worked as faculty in the Hematologic Malignancies and Bone Marrow Transplant Program at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). He continues to hold an active faculty appointment at UCSF, where he sees patients with blood cancers.
Investigator, HHMI and Dr. K. Peter Hirth Chair of Cancer Biology
University of California at Berkeley
Michael Rape is a pioneer in uncovering fundamental mechanisms of cellular regulation by ubiquitylation. Michael’s work revealed new ubiquitin chain types, essential ubiquitylation enzymes and substrates, as well as mechanisms of ubiquitylation that are essential for human development and disease. His work led to the first prospective development of a molecular glues targeting E3 ligases, thus helping to opening up the ubiquitin system for drug discovery. Michael received his PhD at the Max-Planck Institute of Biochemistry, where he discovered the first ubiquitin-dependent chaperone, the segregase CDC48/p97. His work was recognized with the Otto-Hahn Medal. Michael then joined Marc Kirschner’s lab at Harvard Medical School, where he uncovered principles of ordered protein degradation during cell division and revealed pathways underlying cancer cell resistance to the chemotherapeutic paclitaxel. In late 2006, Michael joined the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California at Berkeley, where he is currently the Dr. K. Peter Hirth Chair of Cancer Biology and a Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology. Michael is also an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. His work has been recognized with a Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise, a National Blavatnik Award, and an NIH Director’s New Innovator Award.
Chief, Division of Molecular Target and Gene Therapy Products
Japan National Institute of Health Sciences
Dr. Mikihiko Naito is currently the chief of the division of Molecular Target and Gene Therapy Products in National Institute of Health Sciences in Japan. After he obtained his Ph.D. degree in the University of Tokyo, he studied anti-cancer drug resistance, cell death and anti-apoptotic proteins in the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology, the University of Tokyo. Then he moved his lab to the National Institute of Health Sciences, and established the protein knockdown technology with SNIPER compounds.
Executive Director, Head of Chemistry
Nan Ji has more than 10 years of drug discovery experience. Before Kymera, he spent 2 years at Mitobridge (now part of Astellas), where he was responsible for its NAD+-boosting portfolio with multiple approaches to modulate mitochondrial functions. Prior to that, Nan spent 7+ years at Novartis, where he contributed to and delivered multiple clinical and preclinical development candidates. Nan obtained his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry with Prof. Andy Myers and conducted his postdoc with Prof. Eric Jacobsen at Harvard University.
Founder and Chief Scientific Officer
Before founding Kymera, Nello was head of drug discovery at Raze Therapeutics (an Atlas portfolio company) where he helped develop first in class molecules against novel cancer metabolism targets with implications in both oncology and immuno-metabolism. Nello started his drug discovery career in the global discovery chemistry group at the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, where he contributed and in most cases led teams to the identification of more than 10 compounds that have entered preclinical and clinical development across a series of disease areas. Notably first in class small molecules inhibitors of several complement proteins for inflammation and ocular diseases. While at Novartis he also championed new technologies such as using fragment-based drug discovery as a core strategy to deliver multiple development candidates. Nello has authored >40 papers and patents and has written reviews in the areas of medicinal chemistry and drug discovery. Nello was trained at Imperial College, University of London and The Scripps Research Institute in California.
Associate Director & Head of Chemical Biology
Paola Castaldi is the global Head of Chemical Biology at AstraZeneca. Her team is focused on supporting drug discovery programs across all therapeutics areas using state of the art technologies with specific emphasis on target identification and validation, target engagement, and off-target determination. Since 2015, Paola has played a critical role to establish a therapeutic protein degradation platform at AstraZeneca providing both strategic and logistics directions. Before AstraZeneca, Paola was a key contributor of the Chemical Genetics group at Sanofi Oncology, Cambridge, MA with a focus on phenotypic drug discovery projects for the Wnt and KRAS oncogenic pathways.
Burnette- Professor, Senior Member Department of Immunology
Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute
Dr.Epling-Burnette is Senior Member and Professor at the Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute, Tampa, FL with expertise in immunobiology of chronic hematologic malignancies, as well melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer. She has a longstanding interest in the mechanisms of T-cell signaling, regulation, and the development of novel immunotherapeutic strategies for cancer. Dr. Epling-Burnette initially trained in the laboratory of Dr. Richard Jove who made the seminal connection between STAT3 activation and cancer development. As such, Dr. Burnette developed an interest in understanding mechanisms controlling tumor-associated immune suppression during tumor development. She works in close collaboration with investigators from a broad range of disciplines to perform basic research that has the potential for clinical translation. Currently, she is focusing on the physiological role of cereblon in immune regulationn and understanding how cereblon controls both proteasome-dependent and independent events linked to T cell regulation and anti-tumor immunity.
MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology- University College London
Dr. Robin Ketteler manages the High-Content Biology Platform at University College London. He has studied biochemistry at the Free University Berlin and completed his PhD in 2002 at the Max-Planck Institute for Immunobiology in Freiburg, Germany. He joined the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston for his Postdoctoral studies in high-content screening of cellular signal transduction. Since 2009, he is group leader at University College London. His current research focuses on the regulation of autophagy by post-translational modifications, utilizing the power of siRNA screening, CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing and high-content imaging. A key interest is to identify nodes in the autophagy pathway for the development of treatments in diseases such as cancer and neuro-degeneration.
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Buhrlage, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in Dana-Farber’s Cancer Biology Department and Harvard Medical School’s Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology Department. Her research group focuses on the development of first-in-class inhibitors and prototype drugs for deubiquitylating enzymes (DUBs) that can be utilized to pharmacologically validate members of the gene family as new targets for cancer treatment and other diseases. Prior to joining as a faculty member in July 2015, Dr. Buhrlage was a professional track scientist at Dana-Farber in the medicinal chemistry core laboratory. In this role she collaborated with Institute researchers to pharmacologically validate novel targets of disease and study mechanisms of oncogenesis and drug resistance. Dr. Buhrlage completed a Doctor of Philosophy in organic chemistry in 2008, under the direction of Professor Anna Mapp, PhD, from the University of Michigan, where she successfully designed, synthesized and characterized small molecules that bind the transcriptional co-activator CBP and upregulate transcription when tethered to DNA. Following completion of her Doctor of Philosophy, Dr. Buhrlage trained for two years in medicinal chemistry at the Broad Institute.
Johns Hopkins University
Since joining the Johns Hopkins faculty in 2011, Dr. Margolis and his group use genetically engineered mouse models of disease and a multidisciplinary approach that combines aspect of molecular biology, biochemistry and in vivo synapse imaging in order to develop hypothesis about protein degradation in the nervous system and its relationship to the underlying cause of synapse degeneration and cognitive decline. In addition, the Margolis laboratory use genetic rescue or stereotactic approaches to target distinct pathways followed by a wide range of biochemical, cellular and behavioral measurements to assay the reversal of disease at the level of cognitive function. Early in his time at Hopkins Dr. Margolis and his research team began to explore more broadly how protein degradation in the nervous system contributes to neuronal function. In 2017, Dr. Margolis and his student at the time, now Dr. Kapil Ramachandran, published their discovery of a novel neuronal specific proteasome complex. This proteasome is unique in that it is tightly associated with the plasma membrane in a manner that gives it access to the inside and outside of the neuron. This configuration of the neuronal membrane proteasome mediates the production of extracellular proteasome-derived peptides that Dr. Margolis and his team have learned acutely modulates neuronal signaling. The laboratory of Dr. Margolis is currently working to address several critical questions related to these important findings and their impact on changes in the function and physiology of the nervous system in health and disease.
Warner-Lambert/Parke-Davis Professor in Medicine
University of Michigan
In the last few years, design of PROTAC small-molecules to induce targeted protein degradation has gain momentum for its promise to develop a completely new type of medicines. In this talk, I will present our latest research in the design of highly potent, specific efficacious PROTAC small-molecules to traditionally undruggable targets. I will highlight the challenges and promise, as well as the remarkable potency, selectivity and efficacious achieved by PROTAC small-molecule degraders. Our research has demonstrated that PROTAC can be employed as a highly effective strategy to drug those traditionally “undruggable” protein targets.
Chief Scientific Officer
Dr. Fisher is the Chief Scientific Officer at C4 Therapeutics, a new biotechnology company focused on the selective recruitment of targets to E3 ligases for ubiquitination and degradation by the ubitiquin/proteasome system where he is responsible for strategic delivery of the project portfolio and collaboration management. Prior to joining C4, Dr. Fisher was the Director of Enzymology and Quantitative Biochemistry in the Center for the Development of Therapeutics at the Broad Institute. His group focused on the mechanistic analysis and quantitative assessment of protein:ligand interactions required for therapeutic discovery. Prior to joining the Broad Institute, Dr. Fisher spent 15 years at AstraZeneca in the Infectious Diseases Innovative Medicines Unit, where he led numerous antibacterial programs that progressed through Phase I clinical trials and was the Executive Director, Biological Sciences. His department supported the entire drug discovery project portfolio, from target validation to pharmacodynamics modeling in support of Phase III candidates. In addition, Dr. Fisher spent 2 years at Hoffmann LaRoche leading drug discovery programs in Metabolic Diseases. Dr. Fisher received his B.A. in Chemistry at the University of Vermont and Ph.D. in Chemistry at Caltech and was a National Institutes of Health Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Harvard Medical School with Professor Christopher T. Walsh.
Senior Director R&D
Dr. Kumar Suresh is a cell biologist and biochemist with several years of specific expertise in ubiquitin research. He was a postdoctoral researcher in the laboratory of Dr. Serge Fuchs, a pioneer ubiquitin scientist at the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied the role of ubiquitin in regulating key cytokine receptors. He discovered that the E3 ubiquitin ligase SCFβ-TrCP degrades the IFNalpha receptor, reducing the efficacy of IFNalpha in treating malignant melanoma. In his current role as Senior Director of R&D at Progenra, Dr. Suresh has responsibilities in lead discovery, lead optimization and preclinical development. A major focus of Dr. Suresh is the development of small molecule drugs targeting the ubiquitin pathway enzymes to treat cancer, neurodegeneration and inflammatory diseases.
Vice President, Chemistry
Ted Suh has more than 25 years of drug discovery experience in a variety of therapeutic areas. He began his career at Glaxo, directly contributing to several programs in metabolic disease. He then spent 18 years at Eisai, where he led discovery projects in oncology and managed integrated discovery units in lead discovery that included such functions as HTS, hit-to-lead synthesis, SBDD and compound management in support of oncology, immunology and CNS programs. In his current role at Orionis Biosciences, Ted aligns core proteome-scale screening capabilities with focused chemical approaches to enable the discovery of such entities as molecular glues and allosteric modulators to produce novel therapeutics.
Team Leader, Medicinal Chemistry and Chemical Biology
University of Dundee
William Farnaby is currently a team leader in medicinal chemistry and chemical biology at the School of Life Sciences, University of Dundee. Since 2016 he has led a multi-disciplinary team of drug discovery scientists engaged in a collaboration between Professor Alessio Ciulli and Boehringer Ingelheim. This collaboration is focussed on the rapid development of the next generation of bivalent degrader molecules to treat disease. This team is engaged in a unique collaboration model that aims to discover PROTACs to address areas of critical unmet medical need. William has led and progressed protein degradation projects through multiple stages of the drug discovery process and in doing so continues to contribute significantly to the advance of rational degrader design, synthesis and methods of biochemical and cellular evaluation. Prior to this William worked for 8 years at Takeda Cambridge as a senior medicinal chemist. He contributed to a number of successful projects within the CNS therapeutic area, including collaborative programs to develop novel chemical matter to accelerate early stage CNS drug discovery and co-invented two clinical candidates currently under investigation.
Senior Vice President
Dr. Wu Du received his MS from University of Hawaii working on synthesis and SAR studies of anticancer marine natural product cryptophycin. Then he received PhD from the University of Pittsburgh, working on total synthesis of anticancer natural product camptothecin analogs and development of new cascade radical cyclization reactions in Professor Dennis Curran's laboratory. After completing his postdoc training in Professor Dale Boger's laboratory at the Scripps Research Institute, he joined Merck Research Laboratory in New Jersey as a medicinal chemist. Later on, he joined PTC Therapeutics as a senior scientist. Currently he is senior vice president of Hinova Pharmaceuticals Inc. Hinova is a drug discovery company focusing on discovery and development of best in class or first in class drugs for cancer and urology diseases. Hinova has a product for prostate cancer in phase III development.
Chief Executive Officer
Yusuke Tominari is a CEO and CSO, and manages the entire projects and strategy of FIMECS, Inc. He launched FIMECS with his colleagues in 2018 as a curve-out biotech from Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited. He started his career of a medicinal chemist at Takeda in 2006 after getting a PhD at the University of Tokyo in Japan. His expertise is medicinal chemistry in immunology, oncology and immuno-oncology areas, Natural product synthesis and Chemical biology (Bifunctional molecules, Photo-affinity labeling probes, Cleavable linkers). Through his 13 years of the pharmaceutical experience, he has contributed 2 out-licensing and 1 IND filing. He is currently challenging “Drugging Undruggable Targets” by the targeted protein degradation technology with a proprietary RaPPIDS platform.