Programme : Presentations by Track
This session contains 4 Workshops, set in the round to promote discussion and debate within each topic area.
This session will describe some of the advances in personalised medicine and immunotherapy that are changing the face of cancer treatment and providing real hope for patients. International efforts to sequence individual cancer genomes, to profile gene expression patterns and identify biomarkers are providing the basis for tailor-made treatments. Recently, the potential for re-directing T cells to eradicate tumours has been illustrated clinically and inspires considerable effort towards further development of novel T cell based strategies including BiTEs, ImmTACs, check-point blockade antibodies, CARs and adoptive T cells. Consortium efforts aimed at co-ordinating some of the activities in these areas and reduce attrition of potential cancer therapies, such as the EU IMI programmes will also be described.
Novel Targets in Neuroscience
Neuroscience is viewed as a challenging area to develop new drugs, however this therapeutic area incorporates some of the most debilitating and life-changing disorders that impact society. Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia and depression place a huge and growing burden on those affected, making it critical that pharmaceutical and academic research maintains its effort to develop new and improved therapeutics. This session will describe some of the efforts being made to identify new ways to impact these diseases from a drug target and disease mechanistic perspective. These will include a focus on Alzheimer’s disease, identifying novel targets from human genetics, and exploring ion channels among other new approaches for providing innovative ways to create novel therapeutics for CNS disorders.
The Pharmaceutical industry has faced unprecedented challenges over the last decade ranging from R&D productivity decline, loss of sales due to generic competition and tougher pricing agreements. Hence, it is now more imperative than ever to utilise screening technologies, screening paradigms and initiatives that provide the greatest probability of success for identifying lead-quality hit molecules. This session will highlight how hit identification has changed since the HTS revolution and will focus on the latest methodologies and scientific breakthroughs that provide new opportunities to drug 1. existing target classes and 2. those target classes that have so far proved largely intractable.
In the past few years cell-based assays have enjoyed increased popularity in the pharmaceutical industry as a mean to bring back physiology into the drug development pipeline. It is hoped that this emphasis on physiological processes will help to reduce attrition rates in the clinic. Development in diverse areas such as cell culture methods (3D cultures, stem cells, organotypic culture), instrumentation (automated microscopy, label free measurement methods) and computational methods (image analysis, multivariate statistics) have transformed the traditional field of phenotypic drug discovery into a powerful, and quantitative tool, with which to identify and develop new drugs. The phenotypic drug discovery session at ELRIG Drug Discovery 2014 will cover the major developments in this exiting and fast moving field.
Biological therapeutics are set to lead the novel drugs market for the foreseeable future. The current dominance of essentially unmodified monoclonal antibody drugs will give way to novel biologics that promise improved efficacy with enhanced safety and disposition profiles. This session will contrast existing macromolecular therapeutic approaches with emerging, novel engineered protein therapies.
The need to create chemical leads for ever more challenging biological targets has led to increased chemical innovation in lead discovery. Recent innovations include the generation of high quality hits outside classical 'small molecule' chemical space, the advent of DNA-encoded libraries, and the application of emerging synthetic methods and design principles to deliver diverse compound libraries. The session will highlight scientific approaches that increase chemical innovation in lead discovery which, together with novel partnership approaches, may deliver high quality leads for today's challenging drug targets.
For the pharmaceutical industry successful clinical trials are the ultimate yardstick for assessing the value of their efforts in target validation. The continued high rate of compounds failing in clinic trials due to lack of efficacy has triggered serious efforts in many companies to develop a more advanced set of tools and processes for target validation before transferring novel target ideas into lead discovery efforts.
Speakers in this session will outline their approaches for building a compelling case in target validation. Since target validation can be done both in industry and academia, this area is ideal for public-private partnerships and for pre-competitive collaborations between industry and academia.