Undruggable Leaders Forum

Undruggable Leaders Forum

15-16th September 2021 | EST Timezone

Uniting the Pioneers of “Undruggable” Innovation

Registration Agenda

Partners

Founding Partners
Founding Partner

Promega Corporation, is a leader in providing innovative solutions and technical support to the life sciences industry. Promega Corporation has provided products for DNA-based human identification for over 20 years. The company’s 4000 products enable scientists worldwide to advance their knowledge in genomics, proteomics, cellular analysis, drug discovery and human identification. Founded in 1978, the company is headquartered in Madison, WI, USA, with branches in 16 countries including Southampton, UK and over 50 global distributors.

 

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Undruggable Leaders Forum in a Nutshell
Interactive Learning

Virtual doesn’t have to mean boring. For interactive and active learning, be a part of the conversation with live event chat, integrated polls, and dedicated Q&A in every session. You can even join panelists on stage!

Crucial Topics

Explore the biggest innovations and news in the industry. Covering protein degradation, chemoproteomics, RNA therapeutics, molecular glues, protein misfolding, and more, this opportunity is for everyone.

Personalized Schedule

Plug key sessions into your calendar so you don’t miss a thing. Can’t take time away? Catch up later with our on-demand content. Maximize your time and your learning with a flexible, personalized schedule.

Speaker Faculty Preview

Greg Verdine
Greg Verdine
Chairman, President and CEO
FogPharma
Greg Verdine
Chairman, President and CEO
FogPharma

Dr. Greg Verdine is a leader in the discovery, development and commercialization of new drug modalities.  A passionate and accomplished inventor of novel approaches and drug classes to engage targets widely believed intractable, Dr. Verdine coined the phrase “drugging the undruggable” to describe his life’s mission. FogPharma was born from the new modality scientific work of Dr. Verdine.  Together with co-founder WeiQing Zhou, he developed the scientific and business concept for the company and co-led its capitalization and operationalization in mid-2016. Dr. Verdine held the role of Chairman of the Board from company founding until December 2020.

Dr. Verdine is highly regarded for having moved seamlessly between roles as an academic scientist, biotech entrepreneur, investor, and company executive. As Erving Professor at Harvard University and Harvard Medical School, he invented stapled peptides, including the precursor to the Phase II molecule ALRN 6924, and also made seminal contributions to understanding fundamental mechanisms of DNA repair and epigenetic DNA methylation. As an entrepreneur, Dr. Verdine has founded multiple, public biotech companies including Variagenics, Enanta, Eleven Bio, Tokai, Wave Life Sciences, and Aileron, and a private company, Gloucester Pharmaceuticals, that was acquired by Celgene. These companies have succeeded in achieving FDA approval for three marketed drugs.

Dr. Verdine has served on the board of directors of Enanta Pharmaceuticals, Wave Life Sciences, Warp Drive Bio, and LifeMine Therapeutics. Having led the formation and financing of Wave Life Sciences, Warp Drive Bio and LifeMine, Dr. Verdine took a role in managing these companies as their president, chief executive officer and chief scientific officer.

Dr. Verdine earned his Ph.D. in chemistry from Columbia University and served as an NIH postdoctoral fellow in molecular biology at MIT and Harvard Medical School.

Nello Mainolfi
Nello Mainolfi
Founder, President & Chief Executive Officer
Kymera Therapeutics
Nello Mainolfi
Founder, President & Chief Executive Officer
Kymera Therapeutics

Before founding Kymera Therapeutics, Nello was head of drug discovery at Raze Therapeutics where he helped develop first in class molecules against novel cancer metabolism targets with implications in both oncology and immuno-metabolism. Nello started his drug discovery career in the global discovery chemistry group at the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, where he contributed and in most cases led teams to the identification of more than 10 compounds that have entered preclinical and clinical development across a series of disease areas. Notably first in class small molecules inhibitors of several complement proteins for inflammation and ocular diseases. While at Novartis he also championed new technologies such as using fragment-based drug discovery as a core strategy to deliver multiple development candidates. Nello has authored >40 papers and patents and has written reviews in the areas of medicinal chemistry and drug discovery. Nello was trained at Imperial College, University of London and The Scripps Research Institute in California.

Matthew Disney
Matthew Disney
Professor | Scientific Founder
Scripps Research Institute | Expansion Therapeutics
Matthew Disney
Professor | Scientific Founder
Scripps Research Institute | Expansion Therapeutics
Dr. Disney is currently a full professor in the bi-coastal Department of Chemistry at The Scripps Research Institute. His laboratory is focused on understanding RNA-ligand interactions and exploiting this information to rationally design small molecules that modulate RNA function or toxicity from sequence. He has received numerous awards including the NIH Director’s Pioneer Award, Blavatnik Young Investigator Award in Chemistry National Finalist, The Tetrahedron Young Investigator Award, Camille & Henry Dreyfus New Faculty Award, The Camille & Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, the Research Corporation Cottrell Scholar Award, The University at Buffalo Exceptional Scholar Young Investigator Award, the Eli Lily Award in Biological Chemistry from the American Chemical Society, the David W. Robertson Award for Excellence in Medicinal Chemistry from the American Chemical Society, and the David Y. Gin New Investigator Award in Carbohydrate Chemistry from the American Chemical Society. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, Dr. Disney received his early schooling in the Baltimore Catholic School System, his B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Maryland, College Park, and his Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from the University of Rochester. As a graduate student, under the guidance of Professor Douglas H. Turner, he studied catalysis of group I introns and developed approaches to determine RNA secondary structure in cells by using a combination of experiment and prediction. Dr. Disney completed postdoctoral training at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH; Zürich, Switzerland) in Professor Peter H. Seeberger’s lab, he studied organic synthesis and glycobiology, developing the broadly used carbohydrate microarray platform.
Beth Shafer
Beth Shafer
Head of Neuroscience, Drug Discovery Sciences & Externalization Business Development
Takeda
Beth Shafer
Head of Neuroscience, Drug Discovery Sciences & Externalization Business Development
Takeda
Cigall Kadoch
Cigall Kadoch
Assistant Professor | Scientific Founder
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute | Foghorn Therapeutics
Cigall Kadoch
Assistant Professor | Scientific Founder
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute | Foghorn Therapeutics

Cigall Kadoch, PhD, is an assistant professor of pediatric oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, assistant professor of biological chemistry and molecular biology at Harvard Medical School, and Institute member and co-director of the epigenomics program at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.

Cigall established her independent laboratory in 2014 at the age of 27, immediately following completion of her PhD studies in cancer biology at Stanford University. She is one of the youngest scientists ever appointed to the Harvard Medical School faculty. She has quickly become a leading expert in chromatin and gene regulation and is internationally recognized for her groundbreaking studies in these areas.

In addition to receiving numerous prestigious awards and research grants to support her academic laboratory at Harvard—including the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, the Pew Scholar Award, and the American Cancer Society Research Scholar Award—Cigall was named to the Forbes 2014 30 Under 30 list, MIT Technology Review’s 35 Innovators Under 35, Popular Science Brilliant 10 of 2016, and most recently Business Insider’s Top 30 Young Leaders in Biopharma.

Cigall holds a BA in molecular and cellular biology from the University of California, Berkeley, and a PhD in cancer biology from the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Shuling Guo
Shuling Guo
Vice President, Antisense Drug Discovery
Ionis Pharma
Shuling Guo
Vice President, Antisense Drug Discovery
Ionis Pharma

Dr. Shuling Guo received her Ph.D. in Molecular Cancer Biology from Duke University and had her postdoctoral training at HHMI/UCLA. At Ionis, Dr. Guo oversees drug discovery efforts in hematological, metabolic, ocular, pulmonary and renal disease areas as well as research efforts in noncoding RNA field. She manages activities from target identification, target validation to the selection of human development candidate. In addition, she is involved in clinical development of antisense therapies. Dr. Guo led the research efforts for transthyretin (familial amyloid polyneuropathy, completed phase 3 clinical trial & under NDA), TMPRSS6 (beta-thalassemia and hereditary hemochromatosis, phase 1 clinical trial), and ENaC (cystic fibrosis, preclinical development).

Don Bergstrom
Don Bergstrom
EVP, Head of R&D
Relay Therapeutics
Don Bergstrom
EVP, Head of R&D
Relay Therapeutics

Don Bergstrom oversees Relay Tx’s research and development efforts and shaping the Company’s portfolio of transformative medicines based on an understanding of protein motion. Prior to Relay Tx, Don was chief medical officer at Mersana Therapeutics, where he led the advancement of two products based on Mersana’s proprietary antibody-drug conjugate platform through non-clinical development and into Phase 1 clinical trials. Prior to Mersana, he was global head of translational and experimental medicine at Sanofi Oncology. Prior to Sanofi, Don held roles of increasing responsibility at Merck Research Laboratories, culminating in his role as oncology franchise lead, experimental medicine.

Don holds an M.D. from the University of Washington, Seattle and a Ph.D. from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, where he also completed post-doctoral training. He was a resident in clinical pathology at the University of Washington.

Chris Varma
Chris Varma
Co-Founder, Chairman & CEO
Frontier Medicines
Chris Varma
Co-Founder, Chairman & CEO
Frontier Medicines

Chris is an experienced entrepreneur and investor in the life sciences industry. He co-founded Frontier Medicines, a small-molecule therapeutics company focused on drugging the “undruggable” protein targets, in March 2018 and serves as its Chairman & CEO. Chris also co-founded Blueprint Medicines (Nasdaq: BPMC), a targeted therapeutics company focused on genetically defined disease, and served as its President and CEO until BPMC was preparing to go public.

Previously, Chris was a Venture Partner at MPM Capital. He also co-founded Warp Drive Bio (acquired by Revolution Medicines in 2018) while at Third Rock Ventures. Prior to that, Chris was a Partner at Flagship Pioneering (f.k.a. Flagship Ventures) focusing on life science investments and driving turnarounds of portfolio companies. Before joining Flagship, he oversaw efforts spanning business development, strategy, and sales and marketing at Novartis AG.

Chris has a Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from the Harvard-MIT Program in Health Sciences & Technology (HST), an M.S. in Management from Stanford University, and an M.S. and B.S. in Computer Science from Stanford University. Chris serves as a member of the Harvard Medical School (HMS) Discovery Council and as a member of the board of trustees for the International Vaccine Institute (IVI).

Laura Brass
Laura Brass
Managing Director
Novartis Venture Fund
Laura Brass
Managing Director
Novartis Venture Fund

Dr. Laura Brass is a Managing Director at the Novartis Venture Fund in Cambridge, MA, USA. Prior to joining NVF, Laura was a Managing Director at MPM Capital, and prior to that, she was a member of the founding management team and SVP of Business Development for TriNetX, a healthcare IT company focusing on big data analytics for clinical research. Before TriNetX, Laura was Director of Business Development at Harvard University’s Office of Technology Development and at its Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. She led commercialization strategy, start-up creation, deal structuring, and negotiations for a portfolio of over 250 biotech, synthetic chemistry, engineering, software, device, and stem cell technologies developed at Harvard and Harvard-affiliated institutions. Laura has also held roles in business development and IP strategy at Elixir Pharmaceuticals, and was CEO of Aferon, Inc., an early-stage antiviral start-up company. Laura holds a B.A. in Philosophy and a B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and a Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago.

Johanne Kaplan
Johanne Kaplan
Chief Development Officer
ProMIS Neurosciences
Johanne Kaplan
Chief Development Officer
ProMIS Neurosciences

Johanne Kaplan is a former VP of Research at Sanofi Genzyme. Over the course of her 23-year career at Genzyme, Dr. Kaplan directed pioneering research leading to the implementation of multiple clinical trials in the fields of gene therapy, cancer immunotherapy and autoimmunity. Most recently, as VP of Neuroimmunology Research, Dr. Kaplan led the contribution of the Genzyme science team supporting the approval of Lemtrada (alemtuzumab) and Aubagio (teriflunomide) for the treatment of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. She also established partnerships for the development of novel therapies for neuroinflammatory disorders. Prior to joining Genzyme, Dr. Kaplan was an Associate Immunopathologist at SmithKline Beecham where she established an Immunotoxicology program. Her work has resulted in over 70 scientific publications and multiple patents. Dr. Kaplan holds a PhD in Microbiology & Immunology from McGill University in Montreal, Canada and conducted post-doctoral studies at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, USA.

Louis Lombardo
Louis Lombardo
Executive Director, Novel Drug Modalities and Emerging Technologies
Bristol-Myers Squibb
Louis Lombardo
Executive Director, Novel Drug Modalities and Emerging Technologies
Bristol-Myers Squibb

Lou Lombardo is currently Executive Director and Head of Novel Drug Modalities and Emerging Technologies in Small Molecule Drug Discovery. He joined Bristol-Myers Squibb in 1997 as a Group Leader in Oncology Chemistry and has held positions of increasing responsibility in both the Oncology and Immunosciences Chemistry Departments. Prior to joining BMS, Lou was a Principal Investigator at Wyeth. Lou received his PhD in synthetic organic chemistry from Yale University, where he studied natural product synthesis in the laboratories of Prof. Harry H. Wasserman.

David Hepworth
David Hepworth
Vice President, Inflammation and Immunology Medicinal Chemistry
Pfizer
David Hepworth
Vice President, Inflammation and Immunology Medicinal Chemistry
Pfizer

Dr David Hepworth is Head of Medicinal Chemistry for Inflammation and Immunology, Rare Diseases and Chemical Biology based in Cambridge Massachusetts. He joined Pfizer in Sandwich UK in 1999 after completion of post-doctoral research at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla California with Prof. KC Nicolaou. Previously, David obtained his B.A. and  D. Phil at the University of Oxford in the laboratories of Prof SG Davies. During his Pfizer career David has worked in a number of different disease areas and research sites in the UK and US. David was involved in initiating the RESOLUTE consortium, an EU-based public-private partnership focused on SLC transporters.

Luke Evnin
Luke Evnin
Co-Founder & Managing Director
MPM Capital
Luke Evnin
Co-Founder & Managing Director
MPM Capital

Dr. Luke Evnin is co-founder and Managing Director of MPM. He co-founded MPM in 1997 with Ansbert Gadicke, M.D., and opened the San Francisco office in 1999.

Over the past 20+ years, the companies that MPM played a key role in building have delivered over 50 FDA approved drugs to the market, evidence of MPM’s success and commitment to funding breakthrough innovation to address unmet medical need.

In recent years, as a component of his MPM activities, Luke has been a co-founder and served as chairman of the board for seven MPM portfolio companies including Amphivena Therapeutics, Blade Therapeutics, Harpoon Therapeutics (NASDAQ: HARP), Maverick Therapeutics, Potenza Therapeutics, Tizona Therapeutics and Werewolf Therapeutics.  He has contributed as a co-inventor in several of these companies as well as MPM portfolio company Oncorus (NASDAQ: ONCR). From October 2017 to June 2019, Dr. Evnin served as the interim Chief Executive Officer of Werewolf Therapeutics, Inc., one of MPM’s privately held biotechnology companies, where he continues to serves as chairman of its board of directors. In addition, he currently serves, on behalf of MPM Capital, as a director for eight other private companies.

Luke has also served on the board of directors of many other public and private companies over his 28-year venture capital career, including past service as a director of Syndax Pharmaceuticals, Inc., EnteroMedics Inc. (now known as ReShape Lifesciences Inc.), Epix Medical, Inc., Intercell AG, Metabasis Therapeutics, Inc. (acquired by Ligand Pharmaceuticals, Inc.), Oscient Pharmaceuticals Corp., Pacira Pharmaceuticals Inc., Restore Medical, Inc. (acquired by Medtronic, Inc.), Sonic Innovations, Inc. and Signal Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (acquired by Celgene Corporation).

Luke also serves as chairman of the board of directors of the Scleroderma Research Foundation, a not-for-profit entity where he has contributed for over 20 years.  He has devoted time to the External Advisory Board at the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Quantitative Genomics External Advisory Board at Princeton and at QB3 at the University of California- San Francisco.  Also, in recognition of MPM’s novel work to finance and build companies which may have a significant impact on cancer care and cures globally, Luke and Ansbert are recipients of the 2017 Global Oncology Visionary Award.

Prior to co-founding MPM, he honed his skills as a venture capitalist at Accel Partners where he was involved in biopharmaceutical, medical device and healthcare service investing as an analyst and then General Partner at Accel Partners (1990-1997).  Dr. Evnin holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry (1990) from the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) and an A.B. magna cum laude in Molecular Biology (1985) from Princeton University.  He is an enthusiastic athlete (squash, tennis) and a wine collector.

Mark Erlander
Mark Erlander
CEO
Cardiff Oncology
Mark Erlander
CEO
Cardiff Oncology

Dr. Erlander has served as a Director since June 2020 and has served as our Chief Executive Officer since May 2020, and formerly as the Chief Scientific Officer from March 2013 to May 2020. Previously, he was Chief Scientific Officer at bioTheranostics, a subsidiary of bioMérieux, a molecular diagnostic testing company focused on clinical applications in oncology, where he served from 2008 to 2013. From 2000 to 2008, Dr. Erlander was Chief Scientific Officer at Arcturus, Inc. (later AviaraDx), which was acquired by bioMérieux in 2008. Dr. Erlander entered therapeutics as a Group Leader and then Research Fellow in drug discovery at Johnson & Johnson from 1994 to 2000. From 1991 to 1994, Dr. Erlander was a Postdoctoral Fellow and then Assistant Professor at Scripps Research. He has 44 issued patents, over 50 pending applications, and has co-authored more than 90 scientific publications. Dr. Erlander holds a B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of California, Davis, an M.S. degree in Biochemistry from Iowa State University, and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Yochi Slonim
Yochi Slonim
Co-Founder & CEO
Anima Biotech
Yochi Slonim
Co-Founder & CEO
Anima Biotech
Mark Reed
Mark Reed
CSO
Treventis Corporation
Mark Reed
CSO
Treventis Corporation

Dr. Reed is a founder of Treventis and co-inventor of Treventis’ lead and backup series of small molecule inhibitors of tau and abeta oligomerization. Dr. Reed was instrumental in leading the company’s pharmacology and chemistry efforts to obtain in vivo dose response reduction and target engagement of tau and abeta oligomers in models of neurodegeneration. He has over 16 years of experience in drug discovery, working in startups biotech (ICOS corporation, Seattle) and large pharma (Schering Plough Research Institute, Cambridge, MA). Dr. Reed has implemented modern medicinal chemistry practices to identify and advance de-risked lead compounds towards the clinic in the areas of CNS, anti-infectives, immunology and oncology. Dr. Reed has published multiple papers and patents in areas of synthetic organic chemistry, neurodegeneration, neuropathic pain and inflammation. He received a B.Sc in chemistry from the University of Reading and D.Phil in organic chemistry from the University of Sussex and currently holds the positions of Staff Scientist at the Krembil Research Institute and Assistant Professor within the department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Toronto.

Chris O'Donnell
Chris O'Donnell
Executive Director & Principal
Pfizer Ventures
Chris O'Donnell
Executive Director & Principal
Pfizer Ventures

Christopher O’Donnell, PHD is Executive Director, WRD and Principal at Pfizer Ventures. Chris is responsible for identifying, evaluating, making and managing equity investments aligned with the future directions of Pfizer. He currently has responsibility for Pfizer’s investments in Adapsyn, BioAtla, Kymera, Morphic, Petra, Storm Therapeutics, and Strata Oncology.

Chris brings 19 years of scientific leadership, a strong track record of delivering clinical candidates across multiple disease areas and modalities, and proven ability to build and lead highly engaged teams. He most recently built and led the Applied Synthesis Technologies group within R&D to help accelerate the delivery of Pfizer’s small molecule portfolio. Prior to that, Chris built and led Pfizer’s Antibody Drug Conjugate Oncology Medicinal Chemistry group which delivered new linker, payload and conjugation methods resulting in over 7 conjugates entering clinical development. Chris started his career in the Neuroscience Medicinal Chemistry group where he invented and helped deliver numerous clinical candidates.

Chris received his BS in Chemistry from the University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign and his PhD in Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Laura Tadvalkar
Laura Tadvalkar
Principal
RA Capital Management
Laura Tadvalkar
Principal
RA Capital Management

Laura Tadvalkar is a Principal on the Venture Team at RA Capital Management. Laura’s primary responsibility at RA Capital is to identify compelling assets to help facilitate new company creation or investments in emerging seed-stage companies. Laura has a BS in Chemistry from Yale University and a PhD in Chemical Biology from Harvard University. Prior to RA, Laura was a Principal at MP Healthcare Venture Management. Prior to MP, She was a Consultant at Clarion Healthcare.

Nancy Pryer
Nancy Pryer
CSO
Ambagon Therapeutics
Nancy Pryer
CSO
Ambagon Therapeutics

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