Dear Members of the Division of Medicinal Chemistry & Chemical Biology
An exceptional year comes to an end. COVID-19 has radically changed our daily lives and work. Slowly, we are getting used to the new ways of working and we start to master the challenges the pandemic represents to scientific collaborations and human interactions.
With several reports on efficacious vaccines close to being registered and ready to use, hope is raising that in 2021 we might be able to return to a life less dominated by the threat of infection. At the same time it is an impressive scientific achievement! Never before has a vaccine been developed in less than a year!
In the meantime, we are trying to keep our planning flexible to quickly adapt to the changing conditions. Our focus remains to offer a platform to our members to exchange science and foster communication.
Christmas 2020 will not feel as usual, nevertheless we wish you a nice end of the year and a peaceful break from work. Before we will have the chance to meet you in person again, we are looking forward to seeing you in one virtual meeting room or the other.
All information provided in the newsletter is based on the current status. Some of it is subject to changes depending on the development of the global situation.
News from the DMCCB
As of Jan 1st, 2021 we have three new members on our board: Prof. Dennis Gillingham (University of Basel), Prof. Nina Hartrampf (University of Zurich) and Dr. Aleksandar Stojanović (Novartis). They will be presented in more details over the course of 2021 in this newsletter.
A warm thank you goes to Dr. Anaëlle Foucault-Dumas and Dr. Finton Sirockin for their contributions to the DMCCB over the last few years, as social media responsible (including newsletters) and webmaster respectively.
Activities of the DMCCB
DMCCB Basel Symposium – Online – February 4th, 2021
This one-day online symposium is dedicated to “Targeting RNA by small Molecules”.
Six invited speakers from Europe and US, Kamal Azzaoui (Saverna Therapeutics, Basel, CH), Matthew Disney (Scripps Research Institute, Florida, US), Michaela Frye (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, Heidelberg, D), Amanda E. Hargrove (Duke University, Durham, US), Iris Alroy (Anima Biotech, Bernardsville, US) and Oliver Rausch (Storm Therapeutics, Cambridge, UK) will be presenting the progress in their field of expertise, RNA targeting drugs. This hot topic will be of interest to students in chemistry, pharmacy, biology, and to the medicinal chemistry and chemical biology community at large. Visit the symposium’s website for details on program and registration.
LS2 annual meeting with "Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery" symposium – Online – February 17-19th, 2021
The LS2 Annual e-Meeting brings together scientists from all nations and backgrounds to explore the large spectrum united under the umbrella of Life Sciences. The program will include a symposium entitled: “Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery” that is jointly organized by the DMCCB and LS2 and takes place on February 19th. Invited speakers of this symposium are Prof. Nina Hartrampf (University of Zurich) and Prof. Stefan Knapp (Goethe University Frankfurt). Visit the website
Frontiers in Medicinal Chemistry 2021 – online – March 8-10, 2021
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 edition will be held online. This international symposium will be again jointly organized by the DMCCB, the GDCh and DPhG. The event will propose lectures around the topics of immunomodulation, first disclosure/case studies and biophysical methods (NMR, Cryo-EM) as well as a session dedicated to young investigators. The attractive program is set and available on the website. Abstract submission is possible until January 15th, 2021. Registration for participants starts January 25th, 2021
14th Swiss Course on Medicinal Chemistry – Leysin – October 3-8, 2021:
The five-day course organized by the DMCCB had to be postponed by one year and is planned to take place in Leysin on October 3-8, 2021. The course will focus on modern aspects of small molecule drug discovery, hit generation, lead finding and lead optimization campaigns. It is aimed at scientists from industry and academia working in medicinal chemistry and flanking disciplines such as biochemistry, pharmacy, pharmacology, or biophysics. Due to the ongoing pandemic, changes to the plans might be necessary. More information can be found on the event’s website.
Activities & events from the European Federation of Medicinal Chemistry (EFMC)
EFMC-ISMC 2020: the XXVI EFMC International Symposium on Medicinal Chemistry: The symposium has been postponed by one year. It will take place at the Congress Center Basel from August 29 to September 2, 2021. If you had registered for the Symposium, check the event’s website for information and note that you have a free registration to the September 7-8, 2020: EFMC-ISMC First Time Disclosures & Late Breaking News.
Phenotypic Drug Discovery
EFMC’s Best Practices in Medicinal Chemistry working group just released its webinar and slide deck on Phenotypic Drug Discovery. Phenotypic drug discovery has contributed to the discovery of many innovative drugs and has received a growing attention over the last few years. In this second webinar (following “Validating Chemical Probes”), EFMC presents the opportunities and challenges of phenotypic drug discovery and shares best practices used in industry and academia. This study will help recognizing the full potential of this approach and understanding the opportunities to discover novel drugs from phenotypic approaches. The webinar is accompanied with two case studies from the recent literature highlighting the application of some key aspects of PDD. Slides can be downloaded here and recordings are also available on the EFMC YouTube Channel. The previous webinar, on Validating Chemical Probes, is accessible from the EFMC web site as well, and summarized in the recently published article (freely accessible): The European Federation for Medicinal Chemistry (EFMC) Best Practice Initiative: Validating Chemical Probes, by J. Quancard et al.
A refreshed visual identity
The EFMC gets a new visual identity – a refreshed look, and a new logo that now includes chemical biology, with EFMC becoming the European Federation for Medicinal Chemistry and Chemical Biology. This change emphasizes the extent of our discipline across the scientific continuum of medicinal chemistry and chemical biology, a step similar to what the Swiss Chemical Society went through in 2013, when the DMC became the DMCCB.
EuroMedChem Talents Collection
ChemMedChem, EFMC and its Young Scientists Network (YSN) present the EuroMedChemTalents Special Collection. This collaborative project celebrates EFMC’s 50th anniversary in 2020 and ChemMedChem‘s 15th anniversary in 2021. The Special Collection will showcase the latest work from young scientists in Europe, and place the spotlight on the researchers themselves through their biographies. All articles will be published in regular issues of ChemMedChem (or ChemBioChem if better suited), and all under the EuroMedChem Talents page for easy access. Articles in the collection will initially be freely accessible. If you wish to nominate early-career researchers based in Europe (including yourself), please do so by e-mail, so that the screening committee can evaluate your nomination.
EFMC’s 50th anniversary
The pandemic crisis prevented a celebration of EFMC’s 50th anniversary in person and the sharing of a big (EFMC blue) cake, but this is only postponed. On the other hand, it did not delay the publication of a series of articles on EFMC, retracing its history and highlighting its most recent initiatives. These articles are all freely accessible in ChemMedChem, and part of the EuroMedChem Talents collection: Memoirs of the First 50 Years of the EFMC, by H. Timmerman, The Ascent of Medicinal Chemistry in Europe and Trends in Drug Discovery over Five Decades – The EFMC−ISMC, by E. Differding, The Young Scientists Network: How the EFMC Became Young Again, by K. Goncharenko et al., EFMC, Medicinal Chemistry and Chemical Biology in Europe, by Y.P. Auberson. They provide a rare and thorough look at the evolution of medicinal chemistry in Europe, and the role that EFMC plays in shaping the community and representing all national organisations in Europe.
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