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

An eventful year is slowly coming to its end. While the world was still recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic, the war in the Ukraine took us all more or less by surprise. As a consequence the stock markets have been on a roller coaster and the world slipped into the biggest energy crisis since the seventies. Unfortunately, these events will probably carry through to next year as well.

The DMCCB has been very active in 2022 and organized multiple events, starting with the DMCCB Basel Symposium in February, the Swiss Course on Medicinal Chemistry in Leysin as well as the Swiss Summer School on Chemical Biology in Les Diablerets. Furthermore, was involved in the 2022 International Symposium on Chemical Biology which took place early November at the University of Geneva. All these events were very well attended and participant feedback was very positive. You can read more on them in this Newsletter. For 2023 we are in the process of planning the Basel Symposium on Chemical Space beyond small Molecules, and which will take place in early February, with speakers from academia and industry. We hope to see you there.

In the meantime, we wish you peaceful and relaxing Holidays and a healthy successful 2023.


 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

New Board Members

As announced in Newsletter #20 we are happy to welcome four new board members in 2022! In the upcoming issues of the Newsletter, we will present the new members in more detail. This issue features

Dr. Antonia F. Stepan (F. Hofmann-La roche):

Antonia graduated from the ETH Zurich and received her Ph.D. with Professor Steven V. Ley. Following postdoctoral research with Professor K. C. Nicolaou, Antonia joined Pfizer in 2008. She served as a chemistry and research project leader on discovery programs and advanced drug candidates to clinical candidate nomination and beyond. In 2017, Antonia joined Boehringer Ingelheim as a project leader. Since 2018, Antonia is a Section Head at Roche with a focus on projects for Neuroscience disorders. Antonia is passionate about discovering treatments for neurological and immunological disorders, as well as utilizing novel technologies (e.g., C−H functionalization reactions, sp3- rich fragments) in medicinal chemistry.

Yimon was born and raised in Burma. She moved to the UK to study for sixth form (high school) and then read chemistry at Oxford University, UK. She moved to Harvard University, USA, achieving a Ph.D. in organic chemistry under the supervision of Prof. David A. Evans. She then moved to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA) to research the cellular and biochemical regulatory mechanisms of the enzyme ribonucleotide reductase with Prof. JoAnne Stubbe. She started her independent career at Cornell University in mid-2012, studying the detailed mechanisms of electrophile signaling as well as proteins/pathways involved in mammalian genome maintenance and nucleotide signaling. As of August 2018, she is leading the Laboratory of Electrophiles and Genome Operation (LEAGO) at ISIC, EPFL (Switzerland) as a tenured associate professor. Since January 2022, she has been serving as an associated editor of ACS Chemical Biology.


Swiss Summer School in Chemical Biology 2022

The first edition of the Summer School in Chemical Biology took place in September in Les Diablerets. The school’s format mirrored that of the Summer School on Organic Synthesis, which is already well established. The 50 slots for students were fully booked. The program consisted of lectures given by speakers from academia and industry, short communications and posters from student,s as well as several social events. The school is now certified by the EFMC and the feedback for this first edition was very positive in that it is a unique school in terms of quality and format. The next edition will take place in 2024.

Swiss Course on Medicinal Chemistry 2022

The 2022 vintage of the Swiss Course on Medicinal Chemistry, held in the scenic village of Leysin in the Swiss Alps, was a true "Grand Cru". The 14th edition of this event was held in October this year, after the initially planned 2020 course had to be cancelled. The almost 100 course participants could learn from world leading experts on a broad spectrum of the most modern aspects of medicinal chemistry required to successfully drive drug discovery projects. The course was composed of lectures and interactive workshops held by true opinion leaders in the field. The art of medicinal chemistry was impressively exemplified by great examples and success stories from international pharmaceutical and biotech companies. Apart from the purely educational sessions, all participants and speakers could use multiple opportunities to network and enjoy the surroundings in a friendly atmosphere, a traditional attribute of the Leysin course.

International Symposium on Chemical Biology 2022 (ISCB)

The ISCB took place in Geneva this November, and even though the DMCCB was not involved in its organization, it was an important event for us: Organized for the last time by the NCCCR Chemical Biology, it will be taken over by the DMCCB, and co-organized biennially with EFMC starting in 2023 as the EFMC-ISCB. The first edition will take place in Basel and include chemical biologists from both industry and academia. It will also be the time the EFMC-Wuxi Apptec Award for Excellence in Chemical Biology will be bestowed on a member of the community. 

For more DMCCB community news please also check the SCS website and follow us on LinkedIn


Activities of the DMCCB/SCS

Lecture by Dr. John Gatfield (Idorsia): «Aha-Effects in Drug Discovery: Some Interesting Examples of Compound Mode of Action Studies». This Lecture will be given on December 7 at 17.15 at the University of Basel (Lecture Hall U1.131, Biozentrum, Spitalstrasse 41). A streaming option (Zoom) will be offered for external viewers who do not require the credit points. The Zoom link for the lecture will be provided on ADAM or by Manuela Rogalski (mailto:) by Wednesday 11:30 am. Check out also the website of the University of Basel.

DMCCB Basel Symposium 2023: «Chemical Space beyond small Molecules». The goal of this one-day symposium is to stimulate a stronger cooperation among persons working in different areas of medicinal chemistry and chemical biology. Scientists from applied and fundamental research, from industry, education, and regulation are welcome. This Lecture will be given on February 3, 2023 from 9:00 to 17.30 at the University of Basel (Lecture Hall U1.131, Biozentrum, Spitalstrasse 41). Please visit the event’s website for the list of confirmed speakers, registration (free for SCS members) and other details.


LS2 Annual Meeting 2023: The LS2 Annual Meeting brings together scientists from all nations and backgrounds to explore the large spectrum united under the umbrella of Life Sciences. The Topic of the 2023 edition is “Life on earth: Coping with Challenges”. This two-day meeting will take place February 16/17 at the University of Zurich (Campus Irchel, Winterthurerstrasse 190). For a detailed program and registration check out the event’s website.


SCS Conference on Stereochemistry 2023 (Bürgenstock Conference): The ‘SCS Conference on Stereochemistry’, better known as the Bürgenstock Conference, is an outstanding international chemistry meeting of high scientific quality, with an optimal setting for intense inter-disciplinary discussion. It will take place from May 7 to May 11, 2023 at the Hotel Waldstätterhof. Participation upon invitation only. 


The SCS Fall Meeting 2023 is one of the largest annual research conferences held in Switzerland and offers a unique opportunity for all members of the community to share the results of their research initiatives and to connect with each other. It will take place on August 24, 2023 at the University of Bern (VonRoll Areal). More details will be published on the SCS website in due course.


The Peptide Therapeutics Forum 2023 will take place from September 4 to 5, 2023 at the University of Basel (Zentrum für Lehre und Forschung, Hebelstrasse 20). The event provides an innovative platform to exchange on the various aspects of drug development with a focus on peptides. Similar to previous events in the framework of Basel Life, presentations highlight important new insights regarding the drug discovery of peptides including examples of successful development candidates. This forum disseminates information on the latest news in the broad field of therapeutic peptides and enables networking of interested parties from academia and industries. More details can be found on the event’s website.

Activities & events from the European Federation of Medicinal Chemistry (EFMC)

EFMC announces the creation of the EFMC-WuXi AppTec Award for Excellence in Chemical Biology: The EFMC-WuXi AppTec Award for Excellence in Chemical Biology will recognize outstanding research in the field of chemical biology as defined by EFMC in The Chemical Biology-Medicinal Chemistry Continuum: EFMC’s Vision, ChemBioChem 2021, 22, 2823– 2825. 

The Award is given biennially and consists of a diploma, € 7.500 and an invitation to present a lecture on the occasion of the European Federation for Medicinal chemistry and Chemical Biology International Symposium on Chemical Biology (EFMC-ISCB). The first award will be given at the EFMC-ISCB 2023 (see below). This Award is sponsored by WuXi AppTec. The deadline for submission to all EFMC awards is January 31, 2023!


17th EFMC Short Course on Medicinal Chemistry: Small Molecule Protein Degraders: A New Opportunity for Drug Design and Development. The course will take place from April 23 to April 26 in Oegstgeest, The Netherlands. This intensive course is intended for scientists working in the field, with presentations given by senior scientists from industry and academia. The number of participants is limited to 35 to allow in depth discussion. Further details can be found here.


ACSMEDI-EFMC 2023: Medicinal Chemistry Frontiers: The ACSMEDI|EFMC Medicinal Chemistry Frontiers is co-organized as a collaboration between the Division of Medicinal Chemistry of the American Chemical Society (ACSMEDI) and the EFMC. It will take place from June 10 to 13, 2023 in Boston, Unites States. The ACSMEDI|EFMC Medicinal Chemistry Frontiers Meeting attracts a highly targeted audience composed of experts, researchers and early career trainees in drug discovery and development, in particular medicinal and synthetic chemists, together with scientists active in the fields of computer assisted drug design, chemical biology, DMPK, pharmacology, and early toxicology.More information can be found on the event’s website.


EFMC-ASMC 23: International Symposium on Advances in Synthetic and Medicinal Chemistry: The symposium will take place in Zagreb, Croatia from September 3 to September 7, 2023. Symposium Chairs are Prof. Karl Gademann (University of Zurich) and Dr. Ingo Hartung (Merck, Germany). It will bring together chemists from industry, academia and start-up companies from around the world and is focused onthe most recent advances in new synthetic methodologies, total synthesis, fluorination approaches, bioisosteres and building blocks, chemical biology, medicinal chemistry, drug discovery and development leading to new or improved methods for the synthesis of pharmaceuticals.
Among the confirmed speakers are Prof. Jeffrey Bode (ETH Zurich), Prof. Ryan Shenvi  (Scripps, San Diego) and Dr. Clara Christ (Bayer Pharma, Germany). Further details can be found on the event’s website.

EFMC-ISCB 2023: International Symposium on Chemical Biology:The biennial EFMC-ISCB is the continuation of the high-quality symposia which were organized by the NCCR Chemical Biology until 2022. The meeting will bring together leading scientists to showcase the latest advances in the field of chemical biology both in academia and industry. The program will include keynote and invited lectures, short communications selected from submitted abstracts, a poster session, and an exhibition - with ample time for discussion and networking. It will take place on November 16-18, 2023 at the Congress Center in Basel.

<EFMC-ISMC 2024: the XXVIII EFMC International Symposium on Medicinal Chemistry: The biennial EFMC-ISMC is a key symposium in the field of medicinal chemistry and chemical biology in drug discovery. It traditionally attracts around 1.000 participants from both industry and academia. This event is taking place from September 1- 5, 2024 in Rome, Italy and is organized by the Division of Medicinal Chemistry of the Italian Chemical Society (Divisione di Chimica Farmaceutica – Società Chimica Italiana, DCF-SCI) on behalf of the EFMC. Details to be published on the EFMC website soon.


Did you know?

  • Baselaunch is an organization which partners with scientist and entrepreneurs to launch and build new biotech companies. It has supported more than 20 ventures to date since the foundation in 2016 through close collaboration with key players from the biotech sector, leading pharmaceutical companies and venture funds. A recent CHIMIA article nicely summarizes how Baselaunch helps build and launch exceptional biotechs.
  • The EFMC offers tutorial videos on best practices in drug discovery on itsYouTubechannel. Check it out!