Cambridge Healthtech Institute’s 17th Annual

Target Identification and Validation – Part 2

Genomics-Based Target Discovery

September 17-18, 2020


Finding novel, druggable targets for therapeutic intervention remains a top priority for the pharma/biotech industry. It also remains a formidable challenge and companies continue to invest a lot of time and resources in identifying and validating targets that will yield viable drugs. How are genomics and proteomics helping overcome some of the challenges in target discovery today? What new tools and strategies are being employed and how well are they working? What’s being done to adequately validate the targets once they are identified? What efforts are being taken to go after difficult or “undruggable” targets? Cambridge Healthtech Institute’s conference on Target Identification and Validation will bring together leading experts to discuss some of these critical issues. This is a unique opportunity to meet and network with biologists and screening groups from around the world to share ideas and best practices.

The second part of the Target Identification and Validation conference focuses on Genomics-Based Target Discovery. It includes applications of RNAi, CRISPR, chemical genetics, single-cell sequencing, and other genomics-based tools to identify and validate new cellular pathways and drug targets. Complementary use of these technologies integrated with emerging data analysis and AI/ML approaches will also be discussed.

Preliminary Agenda


Where Are We with Human Genetics-Based Drug Discovery?

Narender Gavva, PhD, Director, Early Target Discovery, Takeda California, Inc.

Applications, Challenges, and Opportunities of Functional Genomics in Novel Target Discovery

Lauren Drowley, PhD, Head, Functional Genomics, UCB

Translating the Genetic Vulnerabilities of Cancer into Therapeutics: Lessons from the Cancer Dependency Map Project

Brenton Paolella, PhD, Research Scientist, Cancer Dependency Map, Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute


Using siRNA and Small Molecule Screens for Target Discovery in Oncology

Ken Chih-Chien Cheng, PhD, Head, Functional Genomics Laboratory, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), National Institutes of Health (NIH)

An End-to-End Target Discovery Platform to Identify Novel Therapeutic Opportunities for Human Diseases

Davide Gianni, PhD, Associate Director, Functional Genomics, Astra Zeneca


Deeper, Finer, and Wider with CRISPR Screens for Gene Function

John Doench, PhD, Director R&D, Genetic Perturbation Platform, Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT

Biases and Blind Spots in CRISPR Screens for Target Finding

Traver Hart, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, MD Anderson Cancer Center

On-Target and Off-Target Cancer Drugs

Jason Sheltzer, PhD, Principal Investigator, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Presentation to be Announced


Developing Standards for Potential Prognostic Complex Multicellular Models

Marc Ferrer, PhD, Leader, Biomolecular Screening and Probe Development, Division of Pre-Clinical Innovation, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Madhu Lal-Nag, PhD, Program Lead, Research Governance Council, Office of Translational Sciences, Center for Drug Evaluation & Research, U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Please click here to return to the agenda for Target Identification and Validation – Part 1

For more details on the conference, please contact:
Tanuja Koppal, PhD

Senior Conference Director

Cambridge Healthtech Institute



For partnering and sponsorship information, please contact:
Rod Eymael

Manager, Business Development

Cambridge Healthtech Institute

Phone: (+1) 781-247-6286