Research & Innovation 2021

Therapeutic innovation for the new decade

In accordance with current government guidelines on the COVID-19 pandemic, Research & Innovation 2021 will be held on 23rd and 24th February 2021 as a virtual event. The conference will discuss how the most promising new biology is being identified and explore emerging technologies and innovations to enable this science to be translated into successful therapeutics. The four scientific sessions will address different aspects of innovation in biology and discovery technologies as we move into a new decade:

  • Innovations in structural biology & biophysics: Newly devised technologies, such as high resolution single particle cryo-EM, high throughput structurally driven fragment campaigns, micro electron diffraction and structural mass spectrometry methodologies are allowing conventionally “undruggable” protein targets to be drugged. In this session, we will discuss how state-of-the-art structural and biophysical methodologies are being use to shape and evolve a modern drug discovery program
  • The rise of immunology across Discovery: Moving beyond the field of immuno-oncology to explore both the rising interest in immunology-based targets in other therapeutic areas and highlight the potential of different therapeutic modalities.
  • Seeking novel drug targets for the Discovery pipeline: This session interrogates the importance of quality systems and data in support of target selections for drug discovery –  the prevalence of failure in clinical trials suggests that significant improvements in target selection needs to occur in order to reduce attrition and the resulting cost of medicines.  The talks in this session focus on different methodologies that can be applied to identifying targets, ranging from analysis of human ‘omic and clinical electronic health records,  to modern approaches to chemical biology and target identification, or the use of human pluripotent stem cells.  The interface between the academic and industrial views of what constitutes good target validation is an important discussion point.
  • Innovative medicines:  novel antimicrobials and microbiome interventions: Alternatives to traditional antimicrobials are urgently sought to mitigate the public-health risks posed by the emergence of multidrug resistant pathogens.  Innovative approaches for the discovery and development of novel antimicrobials that simultaneously respect and preserve the host’s commensal microbiota are especially valuable, given the critical role that the microbiome plays in human health and disease.  This session will specifically highlight innovation in antimicrobial development, will emphasise the impact of preserving gut microbiota on patient outcomes and will show how the microbiome itself presents a new opportunity for drug development and disease intervention.

Plenary Keynote Speakers

Professor Richard Cornall (University of Oxford)
Professor Sir Peter Donnelly (Genomics plc)

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