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NESACS 2018 Election Results
Anna W. Sromek (w)
Sofia Santos
Ashis Saha (w)
Peter C. Meltzer (w)
Nominating Committee: (2)
Michael P. Filosa (w)
Sonja Strah-Pleynet (w)
Norris Committee: (2)
Mark Tebbe (w)
Kuzhikalail Abraham (w)
Vasiliki Lykourinou
Councilor/Alternate Councilor:
Katherine Lee (c)
Catherine Costello (c)
Ruth Tanner (c)
Andrew Scholte (c)
June Lum (c)
Morton Z. Hoffman (a)
Kenneth Mattes (a)
Joshua Sacher (a)
Mariam Ismnail (a)
Malika Jeffries-El (a)
Patrick Cappillino
Raj (SB) Rajur
Ashis Saha
72 Ajay Purohit
70 Hicham Fenniri
25 Daljit Matharu
Director-at-Large: (2)
John M. Burke (w)
June Lum (w)
133 John L. Neumeyer


Report on the 21st Andrew H. Weinberg Memorial Lecture
Weinberg lecturer challenges notion that some drug targets are out of reach
By Robert Levy, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Reprinted with permission from DFCI Online
Many of the genes and proteins that make the most enticing targets for new cancer therapies have been deemed offlimits because they are considered “undruggable” – too remote within the cell or too shape-shifting to be blocked with drugs made from small molecules. But new techniques for snaring and eliminating
such proteins suggest it is far too early to slap the “undruggable” label on them, the presenter of the 21st Annual Andrew H. Weinberg Memorial Lecture told a standing-room-only audience at Dana-Farber earlier this month (October 2017).
Titling his talk, “New Paths to the Waterfall: Rethinking the Science of Therapeutics for Pediatric Malignancies,” James Bradner, M.D., president of the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, brought listeners inside his team’s efforts to harpoon some of the most elusive, but powerful targets in cancer medicine. In one case in particular, those efforts spring directly from his research at Dana-Farber, where he was a member of the Chemical Biology Initiative until 2015.
“We’re at an awkward moment in cancer medicine,” Bradner observed. “Never before have we had a better appreciation of the hard-wiring of cancer, with total certainty of its genetic origins, but we face the humbling reality that we lack the therapeutic instruments to respond to that information.”
Bradner focused his remarks on the key operators of the cell’s machinery for division – proteins known as transcription factors which switch genes on and off and are almost always out of balance in pediatric cancers. Appealing as such factors are as potential drug targets, they present chemists and drug-designers
with an array of technical and conceptual challenges. “They live in the nucleus, where antibody drugs can’t go, and they lack druggable pockets,” nooks and crevices where small drug molecules can lodge, Bradner noted.
The result is a prevailing sense of defeatism about developing drugs against them. “‘Undruggable’ is my least favorite term in science,” he confided. “It literally means we haven’t drugged it yet, but it has come to mean ‘Don’t bother.’” The path to a more versatile drug – the “waterfall” of his title – demands novel thinking. “It will require a reconsideration of the science of therapeutics, from which these new drugs would arise,” he said.
He began a detailed discussion of one approach to such novel therapies. Where conventional targeted therapies are designed to block or disable a cancer-related protein, Bradner and his team are at work on agents that would destroy such proteins – an approach they call targeted protein degradation. The researchers have constructed drug molecules with two “arms,” or active regions. One arm binds to the targeted protein. The other holds a proteosome, part of the cell’s trash-disposal machinery. When the drug molecule attaches to its prey protein, the trash disposal eliminates it.
The advantages of this approach are clear: “Eliminating a protein altogether can have a greater effect than disabling its biochemical or biophysical function,” Bradner explained. “In addition, proteins and gene circuits can adapt when a protein is blocked. A drug that eradicates the protein, by contrast, may not only be more potent but might have a longerlasting effect.”
Lastly, he touched on two other approaches his team is taking. One, called conformational restructuring, involves “gluing” proteins into odd combinations so they are incapacitated. The other uses RNA to bind to and interfere with proteins. “If targeting RNA is possible,” he said, “then nothing is undruggable.”
The Andrew H. Weinberg Memorial Endowment Fund was created in 1995 with the support of family and friends of Dana-Farber patient Andrew H. Weinberg, along with the Medicinal Chemistry Group of the Northeastern Section of the American Chemical Society and Dana-Farber. The fund is dedicated to bringing researchers from the field of cancer drug development together with those in the biomedical research and
clinical care communities at large, helping to foster an environment for synergy and originality in cancer research.

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BAGIM is sponsored by Scilligence, Silicon Therapeutics, Acellera, Cyrus Biotechnology, DNASTAR, OpenEye Scientific Software, Schrodinger, Chemical Computing Group, ARIAD Pharmaceuticals, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, the Cambridge Crystallographic Data Centre, Optibrium, Dassault Systemes, Dotmatics, LabAnswer, and ChemAxon.
Past Events
2018 NESACS Process Chemistry Symposium
Friday, October 19, 2018
Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research
250 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139

Speakers   Frances H. Arnold California Institute of Technology
  Alan Cherney Amgen, Inc.
  Christian Harrison Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated
    Kami L. Hull University of Texas, Austin
    Robert Knowles Princeton University
    Theodore Martinot Merck & Co.
    Eric Meggers Philipps University Marburg
    Scott Plummer Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research

8:00 AM   Breakfast
Morning Session
8:30 AM  
Welcome and Introductory Remarks
Mark Hellberg (Novartis) & Katherine Lee (NESACS)
8:40 AM  
Robert R.  Knowles (Princeton University)
Proton-coupled electron transfer in organic synthesis
9:40 AM  
Cristian Harrison (Vertex)
Process Development in the Synthesis of CF Corrector VX-661
10:10 am   BREAK
10:30 AM  
Theodore Martinot (Merck)
Process Safety Assessment and Route Selection Strategy for the Synthesis of Substituted Oxadiazoles
11:00 AM  
Frances H. Arnold (California Institute of Technology)
Innovation by Evolution: Bringing New Chemistry to Life
12:00 noon   LUNCH
Afternoon Session
1:30 PM  
Kami Hull (University of Texas)
Transition Metal-Catalyzed Amination and Amidation Reactions
2:30 PM  
Scott Plummer (Novartis)
Aqueous Surfactant Technology at Novartis:  Sustainability as a Trigger for Innovation
3:00 PM   BREAK
3:20 PM  
Alan H. Cherney (Amgen)
Development of a Branch-Selective Cross-Coupling of Heteroaryl Halides and sec-Alkylzinc Reagents
3:50 PM  
Eric Meggers (Philipps-Universität Marburg)
"Chiral-at-Metal" Complexes Applied to Asymmetric Catalysis
4:50 PM  
Concluding Remarks

  • Join us for a day-long symposium focused on process chemistry and featuring speakers from industry and academia.  There will be opportunities to network with members of the local chemistry community during lunch and a late afternoon reception.
  • Seating is limited, and registrations will be allotted on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Register at
  • All attendees must bring a photo ID to be admitted to the event.
  • Registration fees: Standard $50; Student/post-doc $25 – includes continental breakfast, lunch, and reception.  PayPal questions: please contact the NESACS administrative coordinator, Anna Singer, at (preferred) or at (781) 272-1966. Please note the office is open on a part-time basis.

Questions? Please contact a member of the symposium organizing committee.
Organizing Committee
Matthew Beaver
David Leahy
Katherine Lee
Matthew Maddess
Erin O’Brien
Scott Plummer
Stefanie Roeper
We would like to thank the following sponsors of the 2018 NESACS Process Symposium:

  Corporate sponsors  


The NESACS would like to thank all the sponsors above for their generous financial support.
Download this as a pdf document including sponsors, directions, and parking...
See this website for more information and to register ...