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.
CAS, a division of the American Chemical Society, is a scientific information solutions specialist. We provide curated, high-quality scientific data and expertise that fuel successful application of AI and other emerging technologies to enhance R&D efficiency and accelerate breakthroughs.
To discuss the key challenges uniting all modalities in ‘undruggable’. The Undruggable Leaders Forum provides the meeting point for experts to deep-dive into the latest scientific developments and clinical breakthroughs.
Immerse yourself in exclusive content from across the globe. Covering protein degradation, chemoproteomics, RNA therapeutics, molecular glues, protein misfolding, and more, this opportunity is for everyone.
Plug live 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.
“Drugging the ‘undruggable’ needs leaders and leaders need a forum. That’s where the Undruggable Leaders Forum comes in.”
“I enjoyed the event because it allowed for me to hear from a wide range of leaders in this area all within a day. Typically it would take me weeks to set up meetings with all of these different companies.”
“The Undruggable Leaders Forum was a fantastic conference, bringing together a diverse group of thought leaders to share their experiences and perspectives in this challenging area.”
“A fantastic deep-dive into the issues and solutions for what have been called undruggable targets. The discussions and presentations helped me formulate solutions for my own projects.”
“I enjoyed the selection of the topics: they were an excellent summary of what is new in the undruggable field. I also appreciated the format and duration of the talks, which were perfect for a digital event.”
Expert Speaker Faculty
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.
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.
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).
Amy Peterson, M.D. joined CytomX in October 2019 as executive vice president and chief development officer. Prior to joining CytomX, Dr. Peterson was chief medical officer of immuno-oncology at BeiGene, Ltd. where she created and led a global oncology development organization with direct medical oversight and accountability of 7 clinical assets in over thirty global trials in all phases of development in solid tumor indications. Prior to BeiGene, Dr. Peterson was vice president of clinical development at Medivation where she was primarily responsible for the development of enzalutamide (XTANDI®) and talazoparib (TALZENNA®) in breast cancer. Previously, Dr. Peterson served as associate group medical director at Genentech, where she was responsible for the development of early stage molecules targeting multiple major pathways in oncology. Prior to joining Genentech, Dr. Peterson was an Instructor of Medicine in Oncology at the University of Chicago, where she conducted translational research in tumor immunology in conjunction with Dr. Thomas F. Gajewski. She currently serves on the board of The American Society of Clinical Oncology’s (ASCO) Conquer Cancer Foundation. Dr. Peterson received her M.D. from Thomas Jefferson University and completed her residency in Internal Medicine at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Fellowship in Hematology and Oncology at the University of Chicago. Dr. Peterson received her B.A. degree from Wesleyan University.
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.
Dr. Erlander has served as a Director since June 2020 and has served as Cardiff’s 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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
Shawn Davis is a Senior Director at AstraZeneca and leads the Drug Delivery team of the Biopharmaceuticals Development organization. The team improves patients’ lives by ensuring AZ’s therapies are as safe, effective, and convenient as possible using technologies that target the delivery of medicines to the site of action and optimizing their effective half-life. This requires the evaluation, development, and commercialization of drug delivery technologies across a wide range of modalities in the biopharmaceutical space. Shawn also serves as the CMC leader for the highest priority early stage asset in the portfolio. In this role, Shawn balances speed to market, commercial success drivers, and accelerated clinical timelines.
Over the past two decades, Shawn has been recognized as a thoughtful, decisive leader with a record of bridging the gap between cutting-edge drug product development and therapeutic delivery to patients. Shawn was previously the Director of Technology Strategy & Innovation and a member of Amgen’s Digital Health & Innovation team. His responsibilities included understanding and articulating the needs of Amgen’s product teams, identifying potential technology solutions to those needs, and serving as a technology advocate for Amgen as a whole. Prior to that role, Shawn was a member of Amgen’s Advance Device technologies team where he helped to set the strategic vision for the group and led a team tasked with monitoring and prioritizing the technology landscape. Before he joined Amgen, Shawn spent 14 years leading the design and development efforts of several startups in the drug delivery and diagnostics fields.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
To provide you with the very best virtual experience, the Undruggable Leaders Forum will be hosted on Hopin, a world-class purpose-built platform for exceptional events.
The benefits of virtual are endless! For starters, no more wondering who is in the room! View and message the entire attendee list, or reach out to any attendee through their connected LinkedIn profiles. If that’s not enough, there are a multitude of structured and unstructured networking opportunities to give you the chance to reconnect with old friends and meet your future collaborators.
Then there’s the learning! Through an engaging and connected live agenda, you can interact directly with the speakers, through Q&A, polls, interactive panel discussions, and more. And with recordings available for six months post-event, you won’t miss out on any of the exclusive ‘undruggable’ content, no matter your schedule.
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