Discovery on Target would like to thank all of the speakers and attendees, sponsors and exhibitors who came to Boston for this year’s annual event. The event drew a large number of attendees with 1,100+ participants from 26 countries networking and discussing current and emerging ‘hot’ drug targets for the pharmaceutical industry.

Plenary Keynote Program

Comprehensive Kinase and Epigenetic Compound Profiling

Kelvin LamKelvin Lam, Ph.D., Director, Strategic Partnerships, Reaction Biology Corporation

Kinase inhibitors can be used as chemical probes to understand signal transduction pathways. Since the majority of kinase probes inhibit multiple kinases, understanding the off-target effects will allow scientists to design better poly-pharmacologic compounds to meet specific therapeutic needs. Profiling a compound against the entire kinase gene family will allow us to understand the compound’s full enzymatic activities. Unexpected activities could lead to different chemical design and possibly novel therapeutic opportunities. Reaction Biology offers large-scale in vitro kinase and epigenetic profiling services for (1) compound prioritizing and (2) elucidating novel activities for kinase and epigenetic inhibitors.

iPS Cell Technology, Gene Editing and Disease Research

Rudolf JaenischRudolf Jaenisch, M.D., Founding Member, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research; Professor, Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The development of the iPS cell technology has revolutionized our ability to study human diseases in defined in vitro cell culture systems. A major problem of using iPS cells for this “disease in the dish” approach is the choice of control cells because the unpredictable variability between different iPS / ES cells to differentiate into a given lineage. Recently developed efficient gene editing methods such as the CRISPR/Cas system allow the creation of genetically defined models of monogenic as well as polygenic human disorders.

The Evolutionary Dynamics and Treatment of Cancer

Martin NowakMartin Nowak, Ph.D., M.Sc., Professor, Biology and Mathematics and Director, Program for Evolutionary Dynamics, Harvard University

Cancer is an evolutionary process. Cancer initiation and progression are caused by somatic mutation and selection of dividing cells. The mathematical theory of evolution can therefore provide quantitative insights into human cancer.