I recently attended the 19th RSC/SCI Medicinal Chemistry Symposium held at Churchill College, University of Cambridge (UK) – this was the first medicinal chemistry symposium I have attended since joining the field approximately 3 years ago, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. The symposium was held over 4 days, with the first day dedicated to a medicinal chemistry workshop for early career researchers (those with 5 years or less experience within medicinal chemistry). I found the medicinal chemistry workshop a good learning experience – we started from a series of hits and had to try to progress at least one compound into a preclinical candidate. The team that I was working in came 2nd out of 7, just being pipped to the post for 1st place.
Introduction to Technical Programme
The technical programme started on the second day, and from the outset the talks were quite diverse with projects from many therapeutic areas being discussed, with several first disclosures being presented. There was a dedicated Neglected Tropical Diseases session that was webcast live through the RSC website, highlighting a range of diseases that require much more attention than they currently receive. Although a lot of great medicinal chemistry was discussed, it was a talk by Gianni Chessari from Aztex Pharmaceuticals that I found particularly fascinating. Gianni described a fragment-based screening approach using PyramidTM for the discovery of inhibitors of apoptosis proteins (IAP). He described structure-based hit optimization utilizing computational and NMR studies – by analysing the confirmation of their hit compounds, they were able to increase binding affinity and subsequently develop a potent non-peptidic IAP antagonist ASTX660 that is currently being tested in a Phase 2 clinical trial.
Overall I found this conference a great learning experience and a good opportunity to meet like-minded individuals from both academia and industry – I particularly enjoyed the opportunity to network at the Gala Dinner in the impressive surroundings of St John’s College!
Gala Dinner at St John’s College
Blog written by Mark Honey