ACS Fall 2019: what can this meeting offer those in drug discovery?

Ahead of the ACS National Meeting & Expo (25—29 August 2019; CA, USA), I have put together my editor’s picks to help you navigate this huge conference, including key talks and where you can meet the RxNet team!

Aug 06, 2019

What is ACS?
What should I look out for?
Meet the RxNet team at ACS
RxNet at ACS Boston 2018

What is ACS?

The American Chemical Society (ACS) is a non-profit organization that has the largest membership of any scientific society worldwide. It seeks to improve the lives of everyone through chemistry, with the aims of furthering chemistry enterprise and those working within the field.

Bringing together thousands of chemical professionals, ACS holds two national meeting each year, covering the entire field of chemistry. Smaller conferences, that are based on either specific topics or geographic regions, are also held through out the year.

What should I look out for?

The biannual meetings from ACS include a huge range of talks, presentations and events that encompass the entirety of chemistry. From advances in electrochemistry to bioinorganic chemistry and the chemistry of materials, there are talks to interest everyone, in every field and at every stage of their career.

The theme of this meeting is ‘Chemistry and Water’ and is packed full with over 9,000 presentations! One might not instantly make the link between this year’s theme and medicinal chemistry or drug discovery – as I did – however, after a further look through the agenda, I could find many, such as the topic of drug discovery for waterborne diseases:

  • From phenotypic screening to lead optimization: Calibr cryptosporidiosis drug discovery (Tuesday, 27 August, 9:20AM) – Melissa Suzanna Love (The Scripps Research Institute; CA, USA) will be discussing a current effort to improve the current standard of care for diarrheal diseases by finding novel drug candidates.
  • Drug treatment algorithms for waterborne parasitic pathogens (Tuesday, 27 August, 10:05 AM) – Upinder Singh (Stanford University; CA, USA) will be taking a look at the need to develop study this neglected tropical diseases and develop new drugs, specifically for those that are waterborne.

For those involved in medical chemistry and drug discovery, the first place to look in the agenda is the in the ‘Division of Medicinal Chemistry’:

No Linker Required: Non-PROTAC Degraders

Earlier this year we spent some time focusing on targeting protein degradation as an alternative approach in drug discovery. Although PROTACs have been hailed a novel and innovative method in this respect (with many advantages over the classical inhibition approach drug discovery) this presentation series focuses on targeting protein degradation without the use of PROTACs. I am excited to learn more about protein degradation from another angle.  

  • Discovery and characterization of a novel small molecule BRD4 protein degrader (Monday, 26 August, 4:20 PM) – Peter Scott Dragovich (Genentech; CA, USA) will be discussing a novel bromodomain and extra-terminal protein degrader that could be developed into a novel anti-cancer agent.
  • Small-molecule estrogen receptor degraders (SERDs): Chemical exploration and optimisation at AstraZeneca (Monday, 26 August, 1:40 PM) – Jamie Stewart Scott (AstraZeneca; Cambridge, UK) will be focusing on the work ongoing at AstraZeneca into selective estrogen receptor degraders (SERDs).
  • ASTX660, a small molecule antagonist and degrader of cellular inhibitor of apoptosis proteins in phase I/II clinical trials (Monday, 26 August, 3:40 PM) – Rhian Hovley (Astex Pharmaceuticals; Cambridge, UK) will be providing insight into the their cIAP degrader, ASTX660, which has demonstrated effectiveness preclinically and is currently being investigated in a Phase I/II trial.

Catch up on protein degradation content here:  

Machine Learning in Medicinal Chemistry  

As with many other fields and sectors, the use and implementation of artificial intelligence has gained a lot of interest over the past few years. In June, our ‘Ask the Experts’ series looked at Artificial Intelligence in Drug DiscoveryI am keen to attend some of these talks that’ll be exploring machine learning and taking a look at its recent usage at different stages in the discovery and development of novel pharmaceuticals. .

  • Lessons from the world's largest prospective application of machine learning to hit discovery (Sunday, 25 August, 8:55 AM) – Abe Heifets (Atomwise; CA, USA) will be discussing the recent work assessing 350 projects that have used machine learning in hit discovery.
  • Designing for developability: Machine learning in data-driven drug discovery (Sunday, 25 August, 10:30 AM) – Joel Karpiak (GSK; PA, USA) will be exploring how machine learning can be applied to the ‘design-predict-make-test’ cycle.

First Time Disclosure of Clinical Candidates 

As the title suggests, this series includes presentations on novel clinical candidate drugs for a range of diseases including cancer, neurodegenerative diseases and cardiovascular diseases. I am looking forward to finding out more about what research has been going on to develop these candidates. 

  • Movement to the clinic of soluble epoxide hydrolase inhibitor EC5026 as an analgesic for neuropathic pain and for use as an non-addictive opioid alternative (Wednesday, 28 August, 9:20 AM) – Bruce Dupree Hammock (University of California, Davis; USA) will be providing details on this potential opioid alternative which should promise a for a range of pain indications.
  • Discovery of AB928, a potent first-in-class dual A2a and A2b receptor antagonist for cancer immunotherapy (Wednesday, 28 August, 10:05 AM) – Monmohan Reddy Leleti (Arcus Biosciences; CA, USA), will be discussing the company’s efforts towards the development of this agonist.
  • Discovery of MK-8719: Potent O-GlcNAcase inhibitor as a potential treatment for tauopathies (Wednesday, 28 August, 8:20 AM) – Ernest McEachern (Alectos Therapeutics; BC, Canada) will be giving an overview of work and studies that led the identification of this inhibitor, which could be used to treat tau pathology in Alzheimer’s disease.

 Find the full range of talks in this division here

Although this division provides a wide and varied source of information and presentations, attendees should not be limited to looking just here for relevant presentations. Throughout all the divisions, talks can be found that can be of interest to medicinal chemists and those in the drug discovery field.

Division of Computers in Chemistry

Recent Advances in Kinase Drug Discovery: A Joint Venture Between Medicinal, Biological & Computational Chemists - Monday, 26 August, 8:30—10:40 AM

As important drug targets, protein kinases have and continue to be investigated extensively by researchers. This presentation series will explore recent advances for these targets, discussing the combined effort of scientists from range of backgrounds to translate the understanding of kinases into the clinic.

Division of Polymeric Material Science and Engineering

Innovations in Drug Delivery Systems: Recent Breakthroughs & New Approaches in Formulation, Drug Delivery Mechanisms & Advanced Delivery Systems - Tuesday, 27 August, 8:3 0AM–12:05 PM

Speed of delivery, target location or efforts to get molecules into parts of the body that are typically difficult to reach (e.g. passing the blood-brain barrier) are all important aspects that need to be considered when developing therapeutics. These talks take a look at how polymer science can aid novel drug delivery systems, including nanoparticle drug delivery, encapsulation techniques and biodegradable drugs.

Division of Biological Chemistry

Covalent & Non-Covalent Dimers as Therapeutic Agents in Drug Discovery - Wednesday, 28 August, 1:00–5:00 PM 

In these talks, the presenters will be reporting on various dimer molecules and agents that can target dimers and oligomeric proteins or larger protein pockets implicated and involved in the development in diseases, such as hepatitis C, cancer and asthma (as highlighted in these presentations).

Read the full agenda here

Meet us at ACS San Diego 2019 

If you are attending ACS San Diego, myself, Harriet Wall (Commissioning Editor, Future Medicinal Chemistry) and Vikki Lee (Business Development Manager) will be at booth #1335; why not visit us or send us an email to arrange a meeting?

We’d love to meet as many members and authors as possible! Discuss your ideas for potential manuscript (for all our partner journals), share ideas for RxNet and pick up one of the first copies of the RxNet Glossary of Drug Discovery at the booth. 

If you’re unable to attend the meeting this year, be sure to follow us on twitter @RxNeFSG and keep an eye on the site to stay up to-date with the latest developments from the conference. 

RxNet at ACS Boston 2018 

Catch up on our content from last year's fall meeting:

Zoe Campbell

Editor, Future Science Group

Hi! I am the Editor of RxNet, please don't hesitate to get in touch if you have any queries or comments about using RxNet!

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