New to ELRIG Drug Discovery 2022: Tech Theatre supported by DDW


A series of short seminars focused on automation and technology will be available to visitors at Drug Discovery 2022 which takes place at the ExCel, London 4 and 5 October.

The seminars will be held in a dedicated Tech Theatre, centrally located in the exhibition hall. DDW has been selected by ELRIG as the exclusive partner to organise and moderate the programme. The seminars will include high profile speakers from pharma and biotech covering topics such as The Lab of the Future is Now, Data Handling and Choosing the Right Informatics System, The Sustainable Lab and The Remote Lab: Is This the Future?

The first day of the Tech Theatre will feature the talk Taking your first steps towards liquid handling automation, presented by Anne Hammerstein, Ph.D, Product Manager, SPT Labtech.

As we sit on the cusp of the next wave of transformations made possible by quantum computing and rely ever more on external collaborations with the big tech companies how will this affect the current portfolio of global R&D facilities?

Dr Yahya Anvar, Head of Data Science, will discuss The role of AI and Automation in Personalised Medicine: How can AI Help in the Post- Drug Discovery Process. Dr Anvar was a senior scientist before joining OKRA, serving as the principal investigator of preclinical personalised medicine. He has over 12 years of experience in the healthcare sector and is the author of over 30 peer- reviewed scientific articles. He holds a PhD in Medicine from Leiden University, and an MSc in Bioinformatics and Artificial Intelligence from Brunel University.

Heading into the afternoon on the first day Samantha Kanza, Senior Enterprise Fellow, University of Southampton will discuss Data Handling and Choosing the Right Informatics Systems for your Lab Requirements.

Making improvements to digitisation is a two-stage problem. Kanza will explain how we need to encourage people to digitise more, and we need better systems to manage the plethora of electronic data once it makes its way into digital form. This presentation will consider both of these aspects by discussing the current state of digitisation of scientific research, including how things have changed (or not) since Covid-19, the barriers (and suggested mitigations) to these barriers, and the digitisation requirements of the physical sciences community.

Kanza is a Senior Enterprise Fellow at the University of Southampton. She coordinates the AI 4 Scientific Discovery Network and the Future Blood Testing Network, in addition to running an ethics working group. She also works on her own research following her PhD in the digitisation of scientific research, smart labs and the lab of the future, and semantic tagging of scientific data, which she has continued as part of the Physical Sciences Data Infrastructure (PSDI) Project. Kanza also works on several semantic web projects across different domains such as drug discovery, agriculture and the social sciences.

Also on that day the Tech Theatre will run a presentation on How automation can push the discovery of biologics and biosimilars?

The second day of the event will feature The Lab of the Future is Now: Using AI or Automation for the Drug Discovery Process, presented by Nicola Richmond, VP of AI, BenevolentAI.

Richmond is a mathematician with over 20 years’ experience of developing digital solutions to problems in drug discovery and development. After completing her PhD in pure mathematics, Richmond transitioned into chemoinformatics as a contract researcher at Unilever R&D. She joined GlaxoSmithKline in 2004 where she worked in a variety of leadership roles focussing on accelerating small molecule and monoclonal antibody drug discovery and development through design of novel approaches to leveraging data and latterly as Director of Machine Learning Engineering, where she built and led the Fellowship Programme. At BenevolentAI, Richmond is responsible for the company’s AI strategy.

This will be followed by Raj Patey, Business Development Director, My Green Lab, who will discuss The Sustainable Lab: Building a Global Culture of Sustainability in Science. 

Patey spends much of his time working with lab suppliers to communicate their product sustainability to lab users and to reduce the environmental impact of the lab supply chain. He is passionate about a global and collaborative approach to ensuring science continues to innovate whilst reducing its significant environmental impact. Patey will talk about the global growth of the green lab movement, My Green Lab’s vision for the industry and alignment with the UN race to zero campaign. He will cover My Green Lab’s Carbon Impact of the Biotech & Pharma study and how programmes are being utilised by labs in sectors including academia, pharma, biotech and wider, to run labs in a more sustainable way and green their supply chains.

CBRE’s Global ILS Training Director, Adam Prosho, will discuss The Automated Lab and the Human.

During this session he will be using his career to-date as an example of the varied roles the human plays in the automated lab and will outline how these roles have changed over the years due to a combination of generational shifts across the workforce, advances in the field of lab automation and the explosion of data analytics and machine learning. He will also cover how employers, manufacturers and CBRE are adapting their offerings to meet this 21st century workplace.

Prosho began his career as a user of lab automation at a major pharmaceutical company before moving to work for a leading manufacturer of laboratory automation as an applications scientist. For the past six years, Prosho has been at CBRE in various roles, all of which focused on improving the experience of scientists interactions with the full spectrum of equipment found in a modern laboratory, culminating in his current role as Global Training Director for the Integrated Laboratory Solutions business.

On that day Martin-Immanuel Bittner, CEO & Co-Founder Arctoris, will discuss The remote lab: Is this the future? Martin-Immanuel Bittner is a clinician-scientist by background. He is a Rhodes Scholar, an active member of several cancer research organisations and an elected member of the Young Academy of the German National Academy of Sciences & Sigma Xi. In 2020, SBR named him Innovator of the Year in Biotechnology.

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