SLAS2024: Day One Highlights

Boston waterfront
Opening keynote

""Following a change to the schedule, Juliet Williams of Kymera Therapeutics launched the event with a popular keynote talk ‘Solving Big Problems with Small Molecule Degraders’. Williams discussed the advantages of the company’s ‘disease agnostic’ small molecule degraders, and its success so far in translating results from preclinical to clinical tests in dermatology, inflammation and oncology indications.

Product launches

More than 400 exhibitors are at the event this year, many of whom are launching new products. Software-as-a-service company Xavo is promoting its new AI-driven scheduling solution Copilot, created to optimise resource allocation and increase lab throughput. Yokogawa are taking advantage of the occasion to announce an expansion to its CellVoyager family of products: CQ3000, a high-content analysis system for capturing high-definition 3D microscopic images of live cell cultures.

One company having a busy event is Tecan, with several product launches across the business. The launches include an integrated solution suite for liquid biopsy workflows, and the Resolvex i300 and antibody purification columns AffinEx Protein A Capture, adding biomarker discovery, drug development and personalised medicine research to proteomics workflows. The company also launched two digital products, LabNavigator and Next-Gen Introspect, designed to empower researchers and lab technicians with advanced, integrated technologies.

""Analytical technologies provider SCIEX launched its Echo MS+ system, which includes flexible workflows for small and large molecules and leverages capabilities of high-resolution mass spectrometry for improved selectivity and sensitivity. SCIEX states the system has the potential to reduce the time, cost and risk in making critical decisions during the early phases of the drug development pipeline.

Science and technology innovator Danaher launched a strategic collaboration with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, with the goal of improving patient safety by addressing a leading cause of failure in clinical trials. The collaboration is part of the Danaher Beacons program and aims to improve liver organoid technology as a drug toxicity screening solution for safeguarding patients.

Life sciences and diagnostics company Revvity showcased over 40 products at SLAS2024, alongside new branding. The company’s latest product introductions include the launch of its LabChip AAV empty/full characterisation solution, which is intended for adeno-associated virus (AAV) analysis to help streamline gene therapy development and manufacturing. Other products include a selection of technologies for cellular research, multiomics, precision medicine, diagnostics, assay development, automation, and novel therapeutic modalities including cell and gene therapy payload and delivery systems.

Ignite Theater
DDW Editor Reece Armstrong

DDW hosted the first day of talks on ‘Innovation & technology: from lab to patient’, co-sponsored by Hamamatsu Corporation and Integra Life Sciences. In the morning, Dipanwita Das, CEO and Co-founder of Sorcero, discussed the commercial model of the pharmaceutical industry, asking if AI can support the technology-driven transformation of current processes. She talked about how the use of data and evidence can support new patient populations and also examined the importance of the post-launch and commercialisation phase.

In the afternoon, Andrea Bortolato, Director of Drug Discovery at SandboxAQ, explored the use of physics-based methods in combination with AI. He explained how physics-based and quantum-inspired methods 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. He discussed how physics-based solutions can bring the full potential of AI to life with a transforming impact on all stages of drug discovery and development.

Lastly, Simon Bushell, SVP of Molecular Discovery of Entact Bio, led a talk on the lessons learned from the proteolysis-targeting chimeric (PROTAC) example, and the technology platform that Entact Bio is building to create enhancement-targeting chimeric (ENTAC) drugs.

He spoke about how technology is transforming the way we discover and develop new drugs and why advances in medicinal chemistry and mechanistic biology can help teams target previously assumed undruggable targets.

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