Thursday, September 27, 12:20 - 2:00 pm

Join approximately 1,300 of your colleagues in the Discovery on Target Plenary Keynote Program, the only time during the Event where attendees from all conference programs assemble in one room. We are honored to have two renowned and distinguished scientists join the program who will be sharing their perspectives on meeting the new challenges of novel drug development. 


12:20 Event Chair's Opening Remarks
Cindy Crowninshield, Senior Conference Director, Cambridge Healthtech Institute

12:40 Talk Title to be Announced
Markus Haeberlein, PhD, MSc, Vice President and Head of Discovery, Alkermes

1:20 New Approaches to Challenging Targets in Cancer
Nathanael S. Gray, PhD, Professor of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
The development of new anti-cancer therapies continues to be massively outpaced by the rapidly expanding knowledge into the biological mechanisms that underpin the development of cancer. One major obstacle is that many potentially interesting targets are challenging to drug. This lecture will focus on strategies using covalent inhibitors and small molecule degraders which hold the promise of making many previously challenging targets druggable. In particular, we will focus on the use of these approaches to target kinases and present some key advantages of small molecule degraders including potency, selectivity and abrogation of non-kinase activity dependent functions. We will also describe efforts to target KRAS – a notorious and frequent oncogene that has been recalcitrant to small molecule approaches.


Markus-HaeberleinMarkus Haeberlein, PhD, MSc, Vice President and Head of Discovery, Alkermes
Markus is currently leading the discovery research efforts at Alkermes, which comprises both small and large molecules in the areas of CNS, oncology and immunology. Prior to joining Alkermes he served as Chief Scientific Officer at Proteostasis Therapeutics working in neurology and cystic fibrosis. Markus Haeberlein started his drug discovery career as a computational chemist at AstraZeneca in 1997 and spent the next 15 years in positions with increasing responsibility. Most recently he was Head of Medicinal Chemistry and Chair of AstraZeneca's Global Chemistry Network. Markus has a passion for drug discovery and the use of predictive methods to improve the odds of generating molecules that are successful in the clinic. He received his MSc and PhD from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden.

Nathanael-GrayNathanael S. Gray, PhD, Professor of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Nathanael Gray spent his childhood in Zambia, Yemen, India and Sudan before returning to the US to attend high school at Berkeley High in California. During his PhD at University of California at Berkeley, he discovered Purvalanol, one of the first selective inhibitors of cyclin-dependent kinases. After receiving the PhD in 1999, Dr. Gray moved to the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation in San Diego, where he was named Director of Biological Chemistry in 2001. Dr. Gray’s research team was responsible for the development of several clinical candidates, including BAF312 which is currently undergoing Phase III clinical trials for the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis. Dr. Gray joined the faculty of Harvard Medical School and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in 2006 to continue his research using synthetic chemistry and functional small molecule discovery to modulate biological pathways important in cancer. His research group has been responsible for the discovery of novel inhibitors of wild-type and mutant forms of EGFR (WZ4002), mTor (Torin1 and Torin 2), Bcr-Abl (GNF-2, GNF-5, HG-7-85-01), Mps1 (Mps1-IN-1 Mps1-IN-2), Erk5 (XMD8-92), b-Raf, LRRK2 (LRRK2-IN-1), Jnk1,2,3 (JNK-IN-7) and Ephrin kinases which have become widely used research tools and have inspired several drug discovery programs.