Monthly Newsletter March 2017

Spring Meeting: Small Molecules and Biologicals in Cancer Immunotherapy - March 17, 2017 - Utrecht, The Netherlands

The programme is available!

This symposium will provide a bird’s eye perspective on the developments in immuno-oncology, from large biologics to small molecules. Recent immunotherapy approaches that will be presented include checkpoint inhibition, IDO/TDO targeting, bispecifics, dendritic cell therapy and vaccination, in lectures delivered by several of the frontrunners in this rapidly evolving and exciting field.

Organised by: Section Medicinal Chemistry, Royal Netherlands Chemical Society (KNCV) (The Netherlands)

Immunotherapy is generating strong excitement in the scientific community and in the clinic. For example, the recent development and clinical success of checkpoint inhibitors (PD-1 and CTLA-4), bispecifics (T-cell engagement) and T-cell replacement therapies has led to significantly improved therapies and new hope for many cancer patients. Currently available immuno-oncology therapeutics are mostly biologics (antibodies, proteins, engineered cells and oncolytic viruses). Modulation of the immune system with small molecules may offer several complementary and potentially synergistic advantages to the use of large biologicals. The latter is a strong stimulus for the development of novel small-molecule modulators by medicinal chemists working in cancer immunotherapy.

This symposium will provide a bird’s eye perspective on the developments in immuno-oncology, from large biologics  to small molecules. Recent immunotherapy approaches that will be presented include checkpoint inhibition, IDO/TDO targeting, bispecifics, dendritic cell therapy and vaccination, in lectures delivered by several of the frontrunners in this rapidly evolving and exciting field.

Confirmed speakers:

  • Andreas van Elzas, Aduro Biotech
    "Checkpoint Inhibitors"
  • Benoît Vandeneynde, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research
    "IDO and TDO Targeting"
  • Geert-Jan Boons, Utrecht University
  • Yvette van Kooyk, VU University Medical Center
    "Dendritic Cell Biology and Targeting"
  • Jolanda de Vries, Radboud University Nijmegen
    "Dendritic Cell Therapy"
  • Huib Ovaa, University of Leiden
    "Small Molecule Probes"
  • Rob de Jong, Gen Mab

The programme is available !

13th EFMC Short Course on Medicinal Chemistry - still some seats available!

The theme of the 13th intensive course is "A Matter of Time: A Kinetic Perspective on Drug-Target Interactions". The course is intended for scientists working in the field, and the presentations will be given by senior scientists from industry and academia.

Enzymes encompass a vast number of distinct target families relevant for contemporary medicinal chemists‘ endeavor to the discovery of efficient and safe drugs. A recent analysis of about 1.000 drugs approved from 1982 – 2010 uncovered around 450 effect-mediating drug targets of which only 150 cluster into enzyme families. However, the ratio of enzyme inhibitors among all approved drugs has increased over the last 10 years; of all ‘true NCEs’ that reached the market from 2005 onwards, more than 50% exert their therapeutic effect by modulation of human and pathogenic enzymes. Many of the approved inhibitors modulate enzymes that cluster into densely populated target families that will be scrutinized in the 12thEFMC Short Course on Medicinal Chemistry. Hence, the focus of this course will be centered on all aspects of enzyme inhibitor discovery addressing the widely unexploited potential of both, the established enzyme classes such as proteases and kinases, as well as the modern emerging enzyme families from e.g. the epigenetics area.  A collection of renowned international experts in the field will highlight various methodological, technological, and enzymological aspects of medicinal chemistry aimed at the discovery of inhibitors against proteases, kinases, phosphodiesterases, as well as epigenetic targets, respectively. Lectures and discussions will be complemented by interactive hands-on sessions on selected case studies in which the participants will be challenged to pursue  hit-to-lead and subsequent lead optimization campaigns, supervised by experienced medicinal chemists.

Gerhard MÜLLER (Mercachem, The Netherlands)
Anita WEGERT (Mercachem, The Netherlands)

Henk TIMMERMAN (VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands)


  • Prof. Helena DANIELSON (UPPSALA UNIVERSITY, Uppsala, Sweden)
    "Characterizing the Dynamics of Molecular Interactions"
  • Dr Liesbeth DE LANGE (UNIVERSITY OF LEIDEN, Leiden, The Netherlands)
    Mr Wilbert DE WITTE (UNIVERSITY OF LEIDEN, Leiden, The Netherlands)
    "Pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic Relationships, the Connecting Role of Binding Kinetics"
  • Dr Matthias FRECH (MERCK, Darmstadt, Germany)
    "The Use of Kinetic Data in Early Drug Discovery: HSP90 as a Model to Gain Mechanistic Insight into Drug Binding Kinetics"
  • Dr Laura HEITMAN (UNIVERSITY OF LEIDEN, Leiden, The Netherlands)
    "in vitro Assays to Study Binding Kinetics at GPCRs"
  • Prof. Ad P. IJZERMAN (UNIVERSITY OF LEIDEN, Leiden, The Netherlands)
    "Kinetics in Drug Discovery - A Case for G Protein-coupled Receptors"
  • Prof. Georges VAUQUELIN (VUB, Brussel, Belgium)
    "Current Models for the Interpretation of Drug Binding Kinetics"

More information and registration form can be found on

EFMC Presence on Social Media

In a constant effort to interact with the broader Medicinal Chemistry Community and support Young Medicinal Chemists, the EFMC is developing its presence on the Social Media.

After LinkedIn and Twitter, the EFMC is now present on Facebook!

Do not hesitate to like our Facebook page, and to follow us on the other Social Media if it is not the case already, to stay updated with all the EFMC News & Events.

2017 MedChemComm Emerging Investigator Lectureship Winner

Congratulations to Dr Laura H. Heitman from Leiden University, Netherlands, the recipient of the 2017 MedChemComm Emerging Investigator Lectureship! Laura Heitman is board member of the Dutch Medicinal Chemistry section (KNCV).

The Lectureship was open to any candidate who received their PhD in 2007 or later and have made a significant contribution to medicinal chemistry in their early career. The MedChemComm Editorial Board then voted on a short-list of nominations.

Many Congratulations to Dr. Heitman for winning the lectureship. Due to current circumstances, Dr. Heitman will be looking to do her lectureship in 2018.

About Laura

Laura H. Heitman, PhD. is a tenured associate professor of Molecular Pharmacology at the Division of Medicinal Chemistry at the Leiden Academic Centre for Drug Research (LACDR, Leiden University), after being appointed as ‘tenure track’ assistant professor in January 2009. She obtained her PhD degree in April 2009 for her thesis on “Allosteric modulation of ‘reproductive’ GPCRs” in collaboration with Organon/MSD (Oss, The Netherlands). Her research interests are mainly focused on understanding and improving drug-receptor interactions, and more specifically, target binding kinetics and allosteric modulation of GPCRs. In the last couple of years, she has obtained several competitive research grants (e.g. IMI-Kinetics for Drug Discovery/K4DD), all allowing her to study these novel, clinically relevant and highly translational concepts for drug action. Her research activities have currently led to an authorship on over 50 papers in this field, including one in Science (2012) and one in Nature (2016).





ESEC2 Survey is Now Online – Participate!

The European Chemistry Thematic Network Association (ECTN) and the European Association for Chemical and Molecular Sciences (EuCheMS) are launching the 2nd Employment Survey for European Chemists, inviting European chemists working in Europe or abroad and chemists from everywhere based in Europe to participate is this important survey. The EFMC, as Supporting Member of EuCheMS, is joining effort to call for a maximum of participation from chemists of our community.


The survey, which is completely anonymous, will be accessible at from 1 March until 31 March 2017, and its main objective is to create a clear snapshot of the chemistry labour market. This snapshot will allow an analysis of educational offer and labour market needs, gender balance, salary differences, etc. As the situation of chemistry greatly differs from country to country (as the previous iteration of this survey shows) it is important that we gather enough specific information from all European countries in order to allow a detailed country-level analysis. Having such a level of detail will be in the best interest of European employees, employers, and universities.

AIMECS 2017: Chemistry in Drug Discovery, Design & Development - July 23-27, 2017 - Melbourne Australia

AIMECS 2017 will focus on Chemistry in Drug Discovery, Design & Development and will include sessions organised by the American Chemical Society (ACS) Division of Medicinal Chemistry, the European Federation of Medicinal Chemistry (EFMC) and the RACI Division of Medicinal Chemistry & Chemical Biology.

Keynote Speakers

  • Prof. Stuart Conway (University of Oxford, United Kingdom)
  • Prof. Hualiang Jiang (SIMM, China)
  • Prof. Paul Keller (University of Wollongong, Australia)
  • Assoc. Prof. Michael Pollastri (Northeastern University, United States
  • Prof. Gisbert Schneider (Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Switzerland)
  • Prof. Molly Stevens (Imperial College, United Kingdom)
  • Prof. Takayoshi Suzuki (Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, Japan)
  • Prof. Rebecca Wade (HITS gGmbH, Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies, Germany)
  • Prof. Pat Woster (Medical University of South Carolina, United States)

Call for abstracts

The AIMECS 2017 Organising Committee invites authors to submit abstracts for presentation within the Symposium program.

Deadline: 23 March 2017. Please note that the closing date for abstract submission will not be extended and abstracts will only be accepted if the author has registered and paid by the early bird registration deadline of 23 April 2017.

Find out more on




Now on its 11th year, ChemMedChem publishes top papers in drug design and development, and beginning 2017 extends its scope to nanomedicine.
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April 23-26, 2017
Oegstgeest, The Netherlands
13th EFMC Short Course on Medicinal Chemistry

June 25-28, 2017
Philadelphia (Sheraton Downtown), USA
ACSMEDI-EFMC: Medicinal Chemistry Frontiers 2017

August 31 - September 1, 2017
Vienna, Austria
EFMC-YMCS 2017 4th EFMC Young Medicinal Chemist Symposium


June 11-14, 2017
Copenhagen, Denmark
1st RSC Anglo-Nordic Medicinal Chemistry Symposium

June 25–28, 2017
Dubrovnik (Srebreno), Croatia
10th Joint Meeting on Medicinal Chemistry

September 25-28, 2017
Kazan, Russia
3rd Russian Conference on Medicinal Chemistry


June 11-16, 2017
Loughborough, UK
Medicinal Chemistry Residential School