Join DDW for the SLAS2024 Ignite Theater ‘Innovation from lab to patient’


SLAS2024 International Conference and Exhibition takes place in Boston, USA, on 3-7 February. DDW will be hosting two conference tracks highlighting expertise in the lab to patient process.

In a new feature for SLAS2024, DDW will be hosting a programme of presentations at the Ignite Theater located in the exhibition hall on 5 and 6 February: ‘Innovation & technology: from lab to patient’.

Inspired by the overall event theme of ‘Innovation at Every Turn’, the DDW track will present leading research and case studies from experts in academia, government agencies and the industry on how technology is innovating from bench to bedside, lab to patient. It is sponsored by Integra Biosciences and Hamamatsu Corporation.

Technology is increasingly important to drug discovery. Advances in this area are having a positive effect on both the commercial success of drug discovery and development organisations, as well as benefitting the health and wellbeing of the global population.

The presentations and speakers

Structural vaccinology for influenza: The technology behind the NIAID Vaccine Research Center’s (VRC) nanoparticle-based vaccines

Masaru Kanekiyo, DVM, PhD, is Investigator and Chief of Molecular Immunoengineering Section of the Vaccine Research Center (VRC) at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), NIH.

As a vaccine immunologist Kanekiyo’s primary research interests are structure-based vaccine design, viral immunity, and host-pathogen interplay. His recent research focuses on vaccines against influenza and other (re)emerging viruses.

“Technology plays multiple roles in all stages of vaccine development,” says Kanekiyo. “It is enabling computational protein design for vaccine immunogen discovery, and high-throughput and high-definition assays for quicker and more comprehensive characterisation of vaccine candidates and vaccine-elicited immunity. In the future, machine learning, especially prediction and generation of new structures might become an essential tool and play a big role in vaccine and drug discovery.”

Proximity-inducing drugs: Using technological innovation to build the next generation of medicine

Simon Bushell, SVP of Molecular Discovery of Entact Bio, has over two decades of scientific and strategic leadership experience in drug discovery.

“Most drugs under development today are designed to do the same thing: inhibit the function of proteins that contribute to disease. But this strategy misses a vast therapeutic opportunity: addressing the many diseases that are caused by insufficient levels or impaired function of otherwise beneficial proteins,” Bushell explains. “By developing new technology to enhance the function of these key proteins, we believe we can open up a new and diverse target space and create novel medicines for a host of hard-to-treat diseases.”

Bushell will discuss the history and technological underpinnings of induced proximity, the lessons learned from the PROTAC (proteolysis-targeting chimeric) example, and how technology can create enhancement-targeting chimeric, or ENTAC, drugs and fully realise the potential of targeted protein enhancement.

How AI and patient-on-chip are improving drug development

Dr Isaac Bentwitch is the Founder and CEO of Quris-AI. He has founded and led three bio-AI technology companies, each of which led revolutions in medicine, genomics, agriculture, and conservation. 

Bentwich’s presentation will explore how the integration of AI with cutting-edge technologies like patient-on-a-chip, real-time nano-sensing, and stem cell genomic diversity is addressing the critical challenge of predicting drug behaviour in humans. He will also explain the importance of this innovation as a way to mitigate the high failure rates in clinical trials, which historically see 92% of drugs fail despite passing animal tests, leading to significant financial and time losses in the industry (approximately $53 billion for pharma companies annually).

Is pharma’s commercial model dying? How data is enabling new insights and why it’s better for the patient

Dipanwita Das, CEO and Co-founder of Sorcero, will discuss the importance of the post-launch and commercialisation phase, as manufacturers discover how their products are being used, new combinations and indications are uncovered and how data and evidence supports new patient populations.

She will argue that many of the current processes that support commercialisation of a new product are manual, fragmented, slow and error prone, and that AI can support the technology-driven transformation of these processes to ensure speed and higher quality.

Das expands: “AI is great at two key things that the expert can fall behind on. One – computing vast amounts of data and information, especially unstructured data which forms 85% of the total data in this space. Two – helping human experts discover and infer insights from the totality of their information that they would not have been able to otherwise. Analysis is context, and with AI, this can be transformative.”

Combining physics-based methods with AI to maximise the success and speed of drug discovery and development

In his talk, Andrea Bortolato, Director of Drug Discovery at SandboxAQ, will include examples of the impact of the strategy of combining physics-based methods with AI, in particular integrating absolute free energy methods, with active learning and knowledge graph strategies.

Bortolato has more than 15 years of experience in computational chemistry and drug discovery at companies like BMS, Schrodinger, and Heptares Therapeutics, with over 50 scientific publications/patents.

“Machine learning (ML) and in particular AI generative methods are transforming drug discovery and development,” he says. “In parallel physics-based and quantum-inspired methods based on first principles and molecular description of the system provide a rigorous solution complementary to ML-based methods. They can provide an effective strategy to create simulated data to extend the ML approach training set or to validate the hypothesis and results proposed by an AI strategy.”

Accelerating biotherapeutics development through technology platforms

Anubhav Tripathi is a Professor of Medical Science and Engineering at Brown University. At Brown, Tripathi’s research group develops biotechnology platforms by integrating biological and engineering principles. 

He holds more than 15 patents, has over 150 peer-reviewed publications, delivered more than 110 invited talks, and co-founded four companies. Tripathi led the development of microfluidics chips for protein and DNA sizing at Caliper LifeSciences (now Revvity).

Protein and RNA-based therapeutics development is a challenging multidimensional problem, accompanied by an equally challenging scalable manufacturing process. Recent advances in areas including microfluidics assisted synthesis and biologics testing, high throughput automated platforms, functional multiomics screening, artificial intelligence and machine learning have accelerated the development process.

Tripathi’s talk will cover methods that have been implemented in therapeutic workflows which show reduced development time, accurate data generation, and more rapid data delivery to research, manufacturing and commercial teams.

Register now to show your interest.

DDW Volume 25 – Issue 1, Winter 2023/2024

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