Plenary Keynote Program

Join colleagues from around the world for the Discovery on Target Plenary Keynote Program. Bridging both halves of the event, it's the only time our whole community of drug discovery professionals assembles together to learn about big-picture perspectives, innovative technologies, and thought-provoking trends from luminaries in the field.


THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 17 | 12:10 - 1:35 PM

12:10 pm Event Chairperson’s Opening Remarks

An-Dinh Nguyen, Team Lead, Discovery on Target 2020, Cambridge Healthtech Institute

12:15 Plenary Keynote Introduction (Sponsorship Opportunity Available)

William G. Kaelin, Jr., MD12:20 KEYNOTE PRESENTATION: Tackling Undruggable Oncoproteins: Lessons from the VHL Tumor Suppressor Protein

William G. Kaelin, Jr., MD, Professor and Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

VHL tumor suppressor protein (pVHL) inactivation is common in kidney cancer and upregulates the HIF2 transcription factor. PT2977/MK-6482 is an allosteric HIF2 inhibitor now in Phase 3 testing. Thalidomide-like drugs (IMiDs) bind to cereblon which, like pVHL, is the substrate-binding unit of a ubiquitin ligase. IMiDs redirect cereblon to destroy the myeloma oncoproteins, IKZF1 and IKZF3. We have developed new assays for identifying drugs that can destabilize oncoproteins of interest.

12:45 LIVE Q&A: Plenary Keynote Presentation

12:55 PANEL DISCUSSION: De-Risking Early Drug Discovery

Moderator: Nadeem Sarwar, PhD, Founder & President, Eisai Center for Genetics Guided Dementia Discovery, Eisai, Inc.

  • Data Sciences
  • Novel Chemical Modalities
  • Investment and Partnering Models
  • COVID-19 Progress as Examples of Successful Partnerships


Anthony A. Philippakis, PhD, Chief Data Officer, Data Sciences & Data Engineering, Broad Institute, Venture Partner, GV

Andrew Plump, MD, PhD, President, Research & Development, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

1:20 LIVE Q&A: Plenary Keynote Panel Discussion

1:35 Lunch Break - View Our Virtual Exhibit Hall


William G. Kaelin, Jr., MD

Professor and Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

William Kaelin obtained undergraduate and MD degrees from Duke University and completed his internal medicine training at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he served as chief medical resident. He was a clinical fellow in medical oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of David Livingston, during which time he was a McDonnell Scholar. He is currently the Sidney Farber Professor of Medicine in the Department of Medicine at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School. A Nobel laureate, Dr. Kaelin received the 2019 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Dr. Kaelin is a member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation, the American College of Physicians, the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine. He recently served on the NCI Board of Scientific Advisors, the AACR Board of Trustees, and the IOM National Cancer Policy Board. He has received numerous awards including the MSKCC Paul Marks Prize, the AACR Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Prize, a Doris Duke, Distinguished Clinical Scientist Award, the Canada International Gairdner International Award, the ASCI Stanley J. Korsmeyer Award, the Scientific Grand Prix of the Foundation Lefoulon-Delalande and the Institute of France, the Albert Lasker Prize, the Helis Award, and the Massry Prize.

Nadeem Sarwar, PhD

Founder & President, Eisai Center for Genetics Guided Dementia Discovery, Eisai, Inc.

Anthony A. Philippakis, PhD

Chief Data Officer, Data Sciences & Data Engineering, Broad Institute, Venture Partner, GV

Andrew Plump, MD, PhD

President, Research & Development, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Andrew Plump, MD, PhD, is the President, Research & Development of Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited and serves as a member of the company’s Board of Directors. His career spans nearly 30 years in the pharmaceutical industry and academia and his experience encompasses early research through regulatory approval and patient access. Dr. Plump’s approach toward drug research and development is reflected in a virtuous cycle of “bench to bedside to bench” learning. He is a true translational physician-scientist, with deep knowledge in biomedical research, experimental medicine, early development, genomics and biomarkers and a history of scientific contributions in neuroscience, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. Throughout his career, Dr. Plump has been motivated to make an impact for patients by translating groundbreaking science into the practice of healthcare. He is regarded as a multi-dimensional leader who is passionate about leading diverse, cross-functional teams and nurturing a high-performing culture to achieve a shared mission, innovate for patients and change health for the better. Currently, Dr. Plump leads Takeda’s modern, world-class, global R&D organization of ~5,000 employees. Together with an outstanding team, Dr. Plump has orchestrated the prioritization of Takeda’s modality-diverse pipeline that is delivering innovative, life-changing medicines in Oncology, Rare Diseases, Neuroscience and Gastroenterology to patients in two distinct waves. First, through FY2024, Takeda anticipates delivering 12 new molecular entities with the potential for 14 launches that represent best-in-class or first-in-class therapies. Beyond FY2024, Takeda’s R&D engine is advancing a steady stream of next-generation therapies based on human-validated targets, a robust network of outstanding partnerships and new platform capabilities in cell therapy, gene therapy and data sciences. Prior to Takeda, Dr. Plump served as Senior Vice President, Research & Translational Medicine, Deputy to the President of R&D at Sanofi, based in Paris, France. Prior to Sanofi, Dr. Plump served as Vice President, Worldwide Cardiovascular (CV) Research Head at Merck, where he had direct responsibility for CV research, preclinical development and translational sciences. Dr. Plump received his MD from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), his PhD in cardiovascular genetics with Dr. Jan Breslow at Rockefeller University and his BS from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He completed a residency in Internal Medicine and a fellowship in Medical Genetics at UCSF. Following his clinical training, Dr. Plump trained as a Howard Hughes and Stanley J. Sarnoff postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Marc Tessier-Lavigne at UCSF, concurrently assuming faculty responsibilities as an Adjunct Clinical Instructor in the Department of Medical Genetics.