Monthly Newsletter October 2021


The virtual edition of the XXVI EFMC International Symposium on Medicinal Chemistry (EFMC-ISMC) took place on August 29-September 2, 2021.

More than 850 scientists from all over the globe virtually connected to listen to the cutting-edge science presented by the 78 invited speakers, 38 Oral Communications and 267 poster presenters over the five days of the conference.

The opening ceremony was chaired by the EFMC Past-President, Dr Yves P. Auberson (Novartis, Switzerland) and the Symposium Chair, Prof. Karl-Heinz Altmann (ETH Zürich, Switzerland). Hosted at the Novartis Campus in Basel, it provided an ideal stage to host the various EFMC Awards ceremonies, as well as the “EFMC Honorary Fellows” ceremonies of both 2020 and 2021.

The introductory talk by Dr Karin Briner (Novartis, United States) on “Creating the Next Generation of Therapeutics - Medicinal Chemistry Unleashed” set the tone for an inspiring meeting. Prof. Ad IJzerman (Leiden University, The Netherlands), winner of the Nauta Pharmacochemistry Award for Medicinal Chemistry and Chemical Biology, delivered a lecture on “Partial Agonism in the Picture”. Dr Malin Lemurell (AstraZeneca, Sweden), winner of the UCB-Ehrlich Award for Excellence in Medicinal Chemistry, followed by a talk entitled “Experiences & Future Direction for Medicinal Chemistry in Cardiovascular, Renal and Metabolism Diseases” who was the speaker for this. The last lecture of the day was delivered by Prof. Gisbert Schneider (ETH Zürich, Switzerland), winner of the Prous Institute - Overton and Meyer Award for New technologies in Drug Discovery. The talk focused on “De Novo Drug Design with Machine Intelligence”.

Concluding the day, the “EFMC Honorary Fellows” ceremonies enabled the EFMC to thank the individuals who have provided outstanding support to the EFMC and contributed in strengthening the position of medicinal chemistry, chemical biology, or related fields in Europe.

In the following four days, the participants attended a busy programme of 4 plenary lectures, 6 prize lectures, 25 themed sessions, two plenary first-time disclosures sessions, workshops, and poster sessions. Among the posters presented, ten were awarded an EFMC Best Poster Prize. Twenty young scientists were also awarded a free subscription to the event by the EFMC.

Amongst many highlights of the programme were the plenary lectures by Dr Jean-Paul Clozel (Idorsia Pharmaceuticals, Switzerland), Prof. Phil Baran (The Scripps Research Institute, United States), Prof. Stefan Knapp (Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany), and the 2020 IUPAC-Richter Prize Lecture by Dr John E. Macor (Sanofi, United States). The closing lecture was delivered by Prof. Stephan Seiber (Technical University Munich, Germany), who received the 2020 Klaus Grohe Award.

Despite the virtual format, the organisers put all their efforts into ensuring as many networking opportunities among participants as possible, with a virtual conference centre offering a chat system, one-to-one video calls, interactive poster sessions and virtual exhibition gathering 32 exhibitors – to whom we are thankful for their support throughout these uncertain times.

We would like to thank again all our committee members, speakers, sponsors, exhibitors, and of course participants for their support – and we look forward to warmly meeting you all under the bright sun of the French Riviera for the XXVII EFMC International Symposium on Medicinal Chemistry (EFMC-ISMC 2022), which will take place on September 4-8, 2022 in Nice, France


Within the exponentially increasing genomic and proteomic information, it is imperative to further increase our understanding of this highly complex interactome. 

This free-to-attend conference will bring together experts in the world of chemical biology, to highlight some of their recent developments in this thriving area of research.

We look forward to e-welcoming you all at two online session that will take place on October 12 and 13, 2021. The session will run from 16:30-18:30 CEST.

When partnering with biologists, synthetic chemists are putting all their creativity to work to develop novel tools to attain an increased understanding of these molecular interactions. These endeavours will eventually deliver novel, next generation drugs, as well as novel diagnostics tools, to help unravel disease pathways.

We are honoured to count, among our speakers, the participation of two important Keynote Speakers:

  • Prof. Ben Feringa (University of Groningen, The Netherlands)
  • Prof. Bert Meijer (Eindhoven University of Technology,The Netherlands)

As Invited Lectures, we count with the participation of:

  • Dr Johannes Broichhagen (Leibniz-Forschungsinstitut für Molekulare Pharmakologie (FMP), Germany)
  • Dr Julie Karpenko (University of Strasbourg, France)
  • Dr Leila Motiei (Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel)
  • Prof. Hermen Overkleeft (University of Leiden, The Netherlands)

Access to the whole Programme of the 2nd Symeres Chemistry Conference.

Register for free now to receive the access credentials to the Zoom webinar!


Join the EFMC and ChemBioChem for their first joint symposium. Enjoy three exciting presentations with interactive question-and-answer sessions.

Moderated by EFMC Past-President, Yves Auberson, EFMC Chemical Biology Initiative Chair, Maria Duca, and ChemBioChem Editor-in-Chief, Ruben Ragg.


  • 15:00: Welcome and Intro
  • 15:15: Targeting Protein Lipidation in Disease
    Ed Tate, Imperial College London, United Kingdom
  • 15:45: Probing Ciliary Signalling through Chemistry and Genetics
    Sascha Hoogendoorn, University of Geneva, Switzerland
  • 16:15: The Second Genetic Code
    Thomas Carell, LMU Munich, Germany 
  • 16:45: Concluding Remarks

The event is free and open to all.




The “literature spotlight” section of the newsletter will bring you a summary of the recently published research in a concise and accessible way. Multiple thematics from different journals will be highlighted thanks to the valuable contribution of members of the communication team.

This latest contribution will focus on the recently published article on “Augmenting Structure-Based Design with Experimental Protein-Ligand Interaction Data: Molecular Recognition, Interactive Visualization, and Rescoring” (by Andreas Tosstorff et al. in ChemMedChem)

Computational aided drug design has become an essential area for drug development and the study of affinity between protein and ligand is pivotal to accelerate Structure-based Drug Design projects.

Ratio of frequencies (RF) framework can provide valuable statistically information about relative interaction preferences of atoms in crystal structures. This rationalization of the binding affinity changes have demonstrated importance during the interactive design of compounds. By applying the methodology to protein-ligand complexes it is also possible to study the significance of interactions that are employed in Structure-based Drug Design.

Tosstorff et al recently described application of the RF analysis to the stacking of heteroaromatic rings with protein amide groups, interactions of polarized C-H moieties with acceptor functionalities, and high-light differences in the interaction preferences of syn and antilone pairs of ligand carboxylate groups. They demonstrated that heterocyclic rings have pronounced preferences regarding their orientation in stacking interactions with amide planes. They validate the importance of polarized C-H groups in protein-ligand binding having observed RF values significantly higher than 1 for interactions with acceptor atoms. Additionally, Tosstorff et al observed that the presence of strong donors in a protein are more likely to interact in syn- than in anti-orientation. The authors were also able to identify the interactions with the highest RF total values for each protein atom type. This information can provide valuable insights for the optimization of protein-ligand interaction.

Furthermore, Tosstorff et al introduced a visualization tool that enables interactive 3-D modeling during compound design in drug discovery projects. This tool is real-time updated and allow an interactive assess of the quality of the protein-ligand interactions.

This paper is particularly interesting as it exploits not only the aspects of molecular recognition in the light of the RF framework but also the application of the RF analysis as a docking rescoring tool to improve the enrichment factor in a virtual screening campaign.

Dr. Andreas Tosstorff,Dr. Jason C. Cole,Richard Bartelt,Dr. Bernd Kuhn
“Augmenting Structure-Based Design with Experimental Protein-Ligand Interaction Data: Molecular Recognition, Interactive Visualization, and Rescoring”


Have you ever wondered how medicinal chemists work in other companies or in academia? Are there important trends or new technologies that you may have missed?

Our group is working on creating educational material on best practices in Medicinal Chemistry to help answer these questions. The main target audience are students and early career chemists but we hope it will also be valuable for experienced practitioners.

As medicinal chemistry is a large field, we decided to first focus on the early phase of drug discovery: generating high quality chemical starting points for optimization. This is a critical part of our drug discovery effort since the speed and success of a program highly depends on the quality of the starting points we find and select. Medicinal chemists have a key role to play in this early phase so the more we know about it, the more we can have an impact

We have released the first two topics: “Validating chemical probes” and “Phenotypic Drug Discovery”.  For both, we have created a set of slides containing the best practices as well as case studies. These can be further used for distribution and teaching. They are also available as webinars for you to watch. You can find all of this on the EFMC YouTube channel and website: Best Practices in Medicinal Chemistry (EFMC Working Group).

A summary of this material can be found in viewpoints published in ChemMedChem: The European Federation for Medicinal Chemistry and Chemical Biology (EFMC) Best Practice Initiative: Phenotypic Drug Discovery - Quancard - 2021 - ChemMedChem - Wiley Online Library.


The 2022 IUPAC-Richter Prize will be presented during the 37th ACS National Medicinal Chemistry Symposium (June 26-29, 2022) in New York (USA) and the recipient will also give a lecture on the subject of their research at the XXVII EFMC International Symposium on Medicinal Chemistry (September 4-8, 2022) in Nice (France).

The USD 10.000 prize is to be awarded to an internationally recognized scientist, preferably a medicinal chemist, whose activities or published accounts have made an outstanding contribution to the practice of medicinal chemistry or to an outstanding example of new drug discovery.

The Prize has been established by a generous gift from the Chemical Works of Gedeon Richter, Plc.  (Budapest, Hungary) to acknowledge the key role that medicinal chemistry plays toward improving human health.

Applicants should be received by NOMINATION only, with just one person needing to serve in that capacity, although a total of five (5) individuals should be listed as referees overall. The package must be submitted electronically and should contain a complete resume, a professional autobiography of not more than two pages, and a one-page summary of what the individual considers to be his/her activities, accomplishments and/or publications that have had the most significant impact on the field of Medicinal Chemistry. The material will be forwarded confidentially to an independent selection committee appointed by the IUPAC Subcommittee on Medicinal Chemistry and Drug Development.

For further information please contact Prof. Janos Fischer, Chairman of the IUPAC Sub-committee on Drug Discovery and Development, by email at

Nomination materials should be uploaded by 15 December 2021 to IUPAC Secretariat via the following form:

Telephone: +1 (919) 485 8700 | Fax: +1 (919) 485 8706


The French Chemical Society (Société Chimique de France, SCF) was created in 1857 to bring together all individuals and legal entities regardless of their sector of activity (public or private organizations) concerned with the chemical sciences and their applications, to represent the interests of chemists and to promote the role of chemical sciences.

This society is organized in divisions and thematic groups, and at the beginning of 2020 decided to launch a new thematic group in order to federate its members which have interest in Chemical Biology and its developments.

Both SCF-ChemBio and EFMC are very excited to start this new collaboration.

As a means to give Chemical Biology in France the important visibility it has acquired in other countries, SCF-ChemBio aims to federate a community of researchers from different disciplines (chemistry, biochemistry, biophysics, physical chemistry, cell biology...) to stimulate new questions, new concepts, and new technologies by transdisciplinary approaches where each discipline brings its creative contribution. SCF-ChemBio will be a privileged place of exchange of expertise and skills of the different communities and affiliated with the Organic Chemistry Division of SCF.

Meanwhile, EFMC has been evolving to clearly show its intention to federate European Chemical Biology, which very recently was concretized by its change of name to European Federation for Medicinal chemistry and Chemical biology. It therefore became clear and natural that SCF-ChemBio join EFMC.

The activities of SCF-ChemBio include the organization of scientific events, attribution of a young researcher award, contribution to the structuration of the French community, interaction with other organizations, such as the Société de Chimie Thérapeutique (SCT) and EFMC, which are promoting Chemical Biology in France, in Europe and Worldwide.

The rapidly growing thematic group organized its inaugural symposium, together with ChemBioChem and Chemistry Europe on April 27th, 2021. This highly successful online seminar hosted by a number of prestigious speakers: Barbara Imperiali, Kai Johnson and Raphaël Rodriguez.

Another such event was the SCF-ChemBio / ChemBioChem / ICBS Joint regional symposium held online on July 22nd, 2021, with Clotilde Policar, Zaneta Nikolovska-Coleska, Wadih Ghattas, recipient of the first SCF-ChemBio young researcher award, and Christian Ottmann.

For more information on SCF-ChemBio:
Twitter : @SCF_ChemBio
LinkedIn : Groupe de Chémobiologie


The EUROPIN Summer School on Drug Design 2021, organized every two years by the Pharmacoinformatics Research Group at the University of Vienna, was held online via Zoom from September 13th to 17th, 2021. This year we had an amazing number of 300 participants from all over the world, 40 recognized speakers and 22 hands-on workshops given by different software companies.

This summer school focused on students and professionals who have a clear interest in learning the basics of as well as the latest developments in Pharmacoinformatics. The program provided an overview on main approaches and techniques used in computational drug design, ranging from protein modeling, docking, pharmacophore based screening, to machine learning, data science, and workflows. During the afternoon sessions the participants had the opportunity to obtain hands-on training via computational exercises.

The poster session, during which 72 young scientists had the opportunity to present their research, was held via gathertown this year. Students presenting a poster or holding a short talk during the summer school were asked to write a 1-page abstract about their experiences and achievements accomplished during the summer school and how the school will impact their research are entitled to receive 4 ECTS points for the summer school course.

Another highlight of this year’s school was the career session, a panel discussion with panelists from different institutions(University, Pharma, CRO, Software company) and at different career levels. Participants obtained an insight on working in different types of companies, career choicesand interview preparation. After the panel discussion the young scientists had the chance for further questions and discussions with the panelists in break-out rooms.

Friday afternoon was dedicated to our young scientists who held either their progress reports or application talks for the EUROPIN program.

Despite the fact that this year's summer school had to take place online due to Covid19, we definitely did not miss out on socialising and networking during the breaks and especially in the evenings by meeting in Participants and speakers were able to virtually enjoy a cup of tea or coffee together after a full day of interesting lectures and exciting workshops. Since we were not be able to personally welcome our participants in Vienna this year, we provided a 30 min virtual city tour through Vienna with a professional tour guide in the evening of the first day.

The next Summer School on Drug Design will be held in September 2023 – then again in person in Vienna. We are looking forward to welcoming you then in our beautiful city! Stay updated by following our twitter and Linkedin accounts.



The Medicinal Chemistry Section of the Israeli Chemical Society is happy to announce the Joint Prague-Weizmann School on Drug Discovery which will take place as a free online virtual meeting on October 25-28, 2021.

This is the seventh iteration of the Prague Summer School on Advances in Drug Discovery, and the third year in a row it is held jointly with the Weizmann Institute of Science. The school is co-organized by the University of Chemistry and Technology, Prague and Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS.

The school is intended mainly for PhD students and postdocs. Expert speakers from academia as well as major international pharma and biotech companies will cover among others:

-Target discovery and validation

-Medicinal chemistry

-Structure and In silico based drug design

-Fragment based drug discovery

-Covalent drug discovery

-Principles and examples of commercial drug development cycle

-Additional topics such as: DNA encoded libraries, Immunoncology and Proteomics based diagnostics

Discover the list of confirmed speakers

Registration is free, and available under this link.


The MedChem Division of the German Chemical Society (GDCh) would like to invite you to the next #MedChemCASES online seminar which will be held on October 21 by Dr Stephen Fesik (Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, United States).

The topic of the webinar will be “The Discovery of Potent WDR5 Inhibitors for the Treatment of Cancer”

WDR5 is a component of multiple epigenetic regulatory complexes, including the mixed lineage leukemia (MLL)/SET complexes that deposit histone H3 lysine 4 methylation. Overexpression of WDR5 correlates with a poor clinical outcome in many human cancers, and WDR5 has emerged as an attractive target for therapy. We discovered potent WDR5 inhibitors using fragment-based methods and structure-based design. These inhibitors have been optimized for their drug-like properties and show potent oral activity in tumor xenograft mouse models. They act not by altering histone methylation but by displacing WDR5 from chromatin at protein synthesis genes, choking the translational capacity of these cells, and inducing death via a nucleolar stress response. Our inhibitors could thus have broad therapeutic utility as anti-cancer agents.

Register for free here:

#GDCh (MedChem Division), #NextGenMedChem.


The BMCS is pleased to invite nominations for the tenth Capps Green Zomaya Memorial Award in medicinal or computational chemistry. The Award will be given to the individual judged to have made an important contribution to the discovery or development of new medicines.

The BMCS also announces some upcoming events:

  • 3rd RSC/SCI Symposium on Antimicrobial Drug Discovery
  • 5th RSC/DMDG/DMG New Perspectives in DMPK (Abstract deadline is November 25th) 
  • 8th RSC-BMCS Fragment-Based Drug Discovery Meeting



The BMCS is pleased to invite nominations for the tenth Capps Green Zomaya Memorial Award in medicinal or computational chemistry. The Award will be given to the individual judged to have made an important contribution to the discovery or development of new medicines. Nominations are invited for candidates, up to the age of 40, working in UK or international laboratories (candidates over the age of 40, who have taken career breaks, will be considered). A Royal Society of Chemistry commemorative medal and certificate will be awarded to accompany the prize of £2,000

Nominations should be submitted no later than 31st October 2021 to:

Maggi Churchouse, RSC-BMCS Secretariat

Telephone: +44 (0)1359 221004 E-mail:

For further details, please access the activities link on


VIRTUAL - 3rd RSC / SCI Symposium on Antimicrobial Drug Discovery

15th and 16th November 2021


Synopsis:  Coinciding with WHO’s World Antibiotics Awareness week, this two-day meeting will examine the latest advances in antimicrobial drug discovery from a medicinal chemist’s perspective, focusing on the particular challenges associated with developing antimicrobials whilst also showcasing emerging strategies for tackling infection.


5th RSC / DMDG / DMG New Perspectives in DMPK   

22nd and 23rd February 2022, Liverpool, UK

The call for abstracts will close on 25th November (oral) and 13th January 2022 (oral)


Synopsis:    Members from across the DMPK research community are encouraged to join colleagues from across academic, industrial, and third-sector institutions and contribute to the ongoing discussion, evolution and application of DMPK in various scenarios.


Fragments VIII:  8th RSC-BMCS Fragment-based Drug Discovery meeting

27thand 28th March 2022, Churchill College, Cambridge

Registration is now open


Synopsis:  The aim of the meeting is to continue the focus on case studies in Fragment-Based Drug Discovery that have delivered compounds to late stage medicinal chemistry, preclinical or clinical programmes. Over three-quarters of the presentations will be focused on case studies.




Drug discovery CRO from gene to optimized lead. With around 200 researchers, SCREENING, fragments, covalent fragments, and DEL. BIOPHYSICS: mass spectrometry, SPR, NMR, MST, DSF, HDX. STRUCTURAL BIOLOGY: protein X-ray crystallography and cryo-EM — including membrane proteins. CHEMISTRY: custom synthesis, process research, medicinal chemistry. Award winning medicinal chemists for integrated projects. 

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November 30, 2021
9th EFMC-YSN MedChemBioOnline 

May 8-11, 2022
Oegstgeest, The Netherlands
16th EFMC Short Course on Medicinal Chemistry New Opportunities in GPCR Drug Discovery

September 4-8, 2022
Nice, France
XXVll EFMC International Symposium on Medicinal Chemistry 


October 12-13, 2021
2nd Symeres Precision Chemistry Conference


October 20-22, 2021
Albacete, Spain
XIII Workshop of SEQT: Therapies with light and New Advanced Therapies

November 19, 2021
Liège, Belgium
MedChem 2021

January 23-26, 2022
Santiago de Compostela, Spain
XX National Meeting of the Spanish Society of Medicinal Chemistry

January 24-27, 2022
3rd Alpine Winter Conference on Medicinal and Synthetic Chemistry

February 16-18, 2022
Rome, Italy
3rd Molecules Medicinal Chemistry Symposium (MMCS): Shaping Medicinal Chemistry for the New Decade


Post-doc and PhD Positions in Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery, EPFL, Institute of Chemical Sciences and Engineering, Lausanne, SWITZERLAND
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Drug Hunter @Aqemia, Paris, FRANCE
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