June 20th 2018 - 2pm-5.30pm - Hyatt Regency Cambridge - 575 Memorial Dr.

Developing Innovative Approaches to Use Human Data to Discover and Validate New Targets

Advances in genomics have led to the creation of huge data sets that can uncover the details of biological processes involved in human health and disease. Despite these advances, drug discovery and development remains a time-consuming, high-risk and incredibly difficult process, with a worryingly small success rate.

Many of the answers to the challenges in this process remain locked inside the data. The efficiency and innovation gap in drug development needs to be addressed through innovative approaches, to dramatically increase the success rate of lead generation for drug discovery and help build a more robust drug discovery pipeline. 


  • Chris Miller, Director of Drug Discovery, AbbVie
  • Matt Nelson, Head of Genetics, GSK
  • Aaron Day-Williams, Director of Quantitative Target Sciences, Merck
  • Diane Joseph-McCarthy, Vice President, Translational Science, Enbiotix
  • Bin Li, Director of Computational Biology, Takeda
  • Vibhor Gupta, Director, Pangaea Group
  • Gautham Sridharan, Research Scientist, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals
  • Leila Pirhaji, Founder and CEO, ReviveMed
  • David Orlando, Principal Scientist, Computational Biology, Syros Pharmaceuticals
  • Sharon  Shechter, Principal Investigator, Silicon Therapy
  • Ping Zhu, Head of Target Discovery and Genomics, H3 Biomedicine
  • Joel Klappenbach, Director, Genome Sciences, Merck
  • Ken Rhodes, CSO, Yumanity Therapeutics
  • Enrique Neumann, Product and Application Manager, Genomics, Tecan
  • Agustin Chicas, Head of Genomic Target Discovery and Validation, Forma Therapeutics
  • Hans Winkler, Independent Consultant
  • Melanie Adams, Business Development Director, TTP Labtech
  • Derek Stevens, Director, Business Development and Marketing, Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Helena Deus, Director of Disruptive Technologies, Elsevier
  • Jennifer Wortman, Senior Director of Bioinformatics, Seres Therapeutics  
  • Matthew Eaton, Principal Scientist, Computational Biology, Syros Pharmaceuticals

Points of Discussion:

  • Emerging technologies and software solutions, including AI/ML, that can benefit the drug development pipeline by eliminating bias and accessing vast amounts of multi-parameter data.
  • A need for guidelines to establish what is a truly validated drug target, and to remove any disconnect between industry and academia.
  • Applying existing technologies and methods to data available in the public domain to discover new targets in a systematic way.
  • Identifying and overcoming barriers to human translation and functional testing.

Meeting Output:

  • Identification of the most beneficial emerging technologies, and a summary of common trends among the innovation efforts of meeting participants.
  • Actions to overcome the limitations of functional testing and analysis of publicly available data.
  • Potential guidelines to define a validated drug target.
  • Opportunities for collaboration and open innovation for improvement of the drug development pipeline.