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Dear Members of the Division of Medicinal Chemistry & Chemical Biology,

Our newsletters are sent out on a regular basis in order to improve communication and foster the sharing of information within our Division. Newsletter #1 (in August 2015) attracted quite some interest and we hope that with your input and feedback we will further increase its value.

We value your opinion

  • We asked in the previous newsletter what your preferred themes for a symposium in 2016 would be. The theme that attracted the most interest was Macrocycles in drug and agrochemical discovery. We are now organizing this event, which will take place at the University of Basel (St. Johanns-Ring 19) on May 24, 2016.
  • You also gave us your input on preferred contents for the newsletter. The favored topics were “News from the Division” and “Upcoming congresses”. We’ll take this into account.

News from the Division

  • The DMCCB supports the Swiss scientific community by organizing congresses. In 2015 we had joint scientific meetings with the French SCT in Dijon and German GDCh in Marburg. The next edition of these events will take place in Switzerland, creating new opportunities for scientific exchange and networking. In 2016 we will have our first interactions with Life Science Switzerland (LS2) at their annual meeting in Lausanne, featuring a DMCCB session entitled «The Interdisciplinary Chemist».
  • As of Jan 1st, Dr. Cornelia Zumbrunn (Actelion Pharmaceuticals Ltd.) accepted to join the DMCCB Board. She gained MedChem experience over the past 15 years in several pharmaceutical companies, mainly in the field of antibacterial research. She replaces Dr. Heinz Fretz (Actelion Pharmaceuticals Ltd.), who has been active in the board for several years. We sincerely thank Heinz for his long-term contribution to the DMCCB community, in particular for his help in the organization of the Minisymposia and the annual Fall Meetings, and wish him all the best for the future.

Upcoming Congresses and Symposia

  • International Symposium on Chemical Biology: The meeting will comprise a keynote address and plenary lectures from outstanding invited speakers in Chemical Biology. Organized by the NCCR Chemical Biology. Geneva, Campus Biotech, January 13-15, 2016. Registration deadline is 14.12.2015.
  • The EFMC organizes a session at the ACS meeting in San Diego (March 13-17, 2016), on the Design of Radioligands and Molecular Probes. There will be talks on in vivo chemistry, targeting, and on the design of PET tracers, from well-known players in the field. Will you be there? Let us know!
  • SCS Spring Meeting 2016 on green chemistry, Zürich, April 22, 2016
  • Swiss Summer School 2016 in Chemical Biology: Villars sur Ollon, August 21-25, 2016
  • 12. Swiss Course on Medicinal Chemistry: A five-day event focusing on the most modern aspects associated with small molecule drug discovery, highlighting the relevance of hit generation, lead finding and lead optimization technologies. Leysin, October 9-14, 2016

Our last newsletter mentioned The Expanding Toolbox of Medicinal Chemistry: From Chemical Biology to Clinical Applications, jointly organised by the SCT and the DMCCB of the Swiss Chemical Society. It took place in Dijon, France, on October 16, 2015. 
Recognizing that medicinal chemists increasingly contribute to the full drug discovery and development process, this symposium talked about recent developments in the area of antibody-drug conjugates, and novel principles to enhance the efficacy of antibiotics or understand their true mode of action. In addition, state-of-the-art methods to measure clearance for guiding chemical optimization, as well as exciting developments in the discovery of clinical imaging agents were discussed. The next event in this series will take place in Switzerland, in 2017.

Highlights of the Fall Meeting

The SCS Fall Meeting took place at the EPFL in Lausanne and attracted more than 750 participants. Top science covering all fields of chemistry was presented in a total of 106 lectures and 425 posters. The DMCCB contributed with 13 lectures (7 from academia and 6 from industry) and 61 poster presentations. Several awards were distributed:

  • The KGF-SCS Distinguished Industrial Science Award, to Dr. Jürg Zimmermann (Novartis Pharma AG), for his ground breaking discovery of protein kinase inhibitors. His work had a tremendous impact on the research and therapy of cancer and other diseases.
  • The oral presentation award at the SCS Fall Meeting went to Arman Nilforoushan, ETH Zurich (Medicinal Chemistry & Chemical Biology winner).
  • The poster presentation awards at the SCS Fall Meeting went to Matthias Urfer, University of Zurich (MedChem), and Anaëlle Dumas, University Paris-Sud (ChemBiol). Runner-ups (CHF 300) were Geoffrey Schwertz, ETH Zurich and Kristina Goncharenko, University of Basel (MedChem) and  Jonathan Simonin, University of Bern (ChemBiol). Congratulations!

News from the European Federation of Medicinal Chemistry (EFMC)

  • Were you ever asked to explain what medicinal chemistry really means? Find the answer in the new EFMC definition of What is Medicinal Chemistry?
  • The EFMC also organized a video competition (WhyMedChem), to communicate in one minute why medicinal chemistry is so important. Have a look at the winning clips.
  • Finally, you can always check MedChemWatch for updates on EFMC-related activities.

Did you know…

...that travel grants from the EFMC are accessible to all young academic scientists, members of the DMCCB? You can get more information (and apply) here.

Looking forward to meeting you again in 2016, maybe at the DMCCB session of the LS2 meeting in Lausanne on February 16th?

A Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone!