Monthly Newsletter August 2022


It was with great sadness that we learnt of the death of Prof. Vincenzo Tortorella, former chairman of the EFMC (1989-1990) and President of the Medicinal Chemistry Division of the Italian Chemical Society (1983-1985). He was a true leader for the Italian community and a key EFMC contributor in the middle of the ‘80s. 

Born in 1932, Vincenzo “Giorgio” Tortorella received his training in chemistry from the University of Rome “La Sapienza”. He taught at the universities of Genoa, Urbino, Rome and Bari, where he became full professor, Head of the Department and Dean. He worked for two years at the Imperial College of London under the supervision of Derek H.R. Barton (Nobel laureate in Chemistry in 1969 for his contributions to the development of the concept of conformation and its application in chemistry). Vincenzo Tortorella was member of the first Board of the Medicinal Chemistry Division of the Italian Chemical Society (1980-1982, President Antonio Da Settimo) and President in the following term (1983-1985). He gave an important contribution to shaping the Italian medicinal chemistry community in its early stage. He was Vice-chair of the EFMC in 1987-1988, Chair in 1989-1990 and past-chair in 1991-1992.

EFMC would like to remind his efforts, joint with Henk Timmerman, that finally lead to the organisation of an international symposium on medicinal chemistry on the island of Capri, Italy, in 1985. The symposium attracted leading scientists from all over the world, with speakers from the USA, Australia, Japan in addition to those from Europe. The secretary of the Medicinal Chemistry Division of the ACS (ACS-MEDI) at that time, Donald Witiak from Columbus, Ohio, was one of the speakers and the meeting was the beginning of a productive and friendly cooperation between the EFMC and the ACS-MEDI. From then on, speakers from both associations were invited to each other's international meetings, joint sessions were organised, and a representative of the EFMC was invited to join the editorial board of the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry.

EFMC regrets the loss of this important player of its history, and presents its condolences to his family, and to the Italian National Adhering Organisation.


Do not miss the opportunity to join the 1000 participants already registered for the XXVII EFMC International Symposium on Medicinal Chemistry (EFMC-ISMC 2022), scheduled to take place in Nice, France.

The programme will take place over 5 days, and will cover:

  • advances in drug discovery in major therapeutic areas
  • most recent advances in new technologies
  • the interface between chemical biology and drug discovery 
  • first-time disclosures and recent highlights in medicinal chemistry

High level presentations by the three EFMC Award winners, as well as the Klaus Grohe Prize winner and IUPAC-Richter Prize winner will also be part of the symposium.

More information and registration

We look forward meeting you in Nice!


Dr Raphaël Rodriguez has been selected as awardee of the 2022 Klaus Grohe Prize.

The EUR 50,000 award is one of the most prestigious prizes in Europe for medicinal chemistry and is awarded by the Klaus Grohe Foundation, which is part of the German Chemical Society (GDCh).

Dr Rodriguez receives the award for his pioneering work at the interface between chemistry and biology, combining preparative organic synthesis with molecular and cell biology. The award ceremony will take place on September 4th by GDCh board member Dr. Rolf Albach at the International Symposium on Medicinal Chemistry (EFMC-ISMC 2022) in Nice, France.

The prize winner will give a lecture on Discovery of a Druggable Copper-signaling Pathway that Drives Cell Plasticity and Inflammation.

Read the Press Release.


The “literature spotlight” section of the newsletter will bring you a summary of 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 EFMC working groups.

This contribution will focus on the recently published article on Influence of Ring Modifications on Nucleolar Stress Caused by Oxaliplatin-Like Compounds, published in ChemBioChem, the official journal of the EFMC.

Platinum compounds have been used as chemotherapeutics for tens of years. Generally they work by inducing DNA damage response but recently it has been noted that oxaliplatin can induce cell death through nucleolar stress pathway.

In this structure-activity study the authors examined the effect of the 1,2-diaminocyclohexane (DACH) ring 4,5 substituents on the nucleolar stress pathway. They tested 12 compounds and concluded with the following observations:

  1. Pt(II)−DACH compounds containing 4-position methyl, ethyl, and propyl groups cause a nucleolar stress response
  2. Axial protons at Pt(II)−DACH 4,5-positions are not necessary to cause nucleolar stress
  3. Bulky substituents at the 4-position do not cause nucleolar stress.
  4. DMSO coordination can inactivate the ability of Pt(II)−DACH compounds to induce nucleolar stress

The exact mechanism and the biological target(s) causing the nucleolar stress by oxaliplatin are still unclear. Studying this unexplored mechanism could lead to a new generation of platinum compounds that exploit the nucleolar stress pathway instead of the canonical DNA damage response.

Influence of Ring Modifications on Nucleolar Stress Caused by Oxaliplatin-Like Compounds. Christine E. McDevitt, Andres S. Guerrero, Haley M. Smith, Prof. Victoria J. DeRose. July 19, 2022, e202200130, ChemBioChem Volume 23, Issue 14.


"MedChemBio Realness" is the topic of our 2022 Photo competition. We invited medicinal chemists and chemical biologists around the globe to submit a picture showing the reality of Medicinal Chemistry/Chemical Biology, why it is important, and what it represents in your everyday life.

The contest is now closed but the votes are open!

Go and select your favourite picture now! The 10 best shots will be selected to compete for the second round at the EFMC-ISMC 2022, where the prize winner and two runners-up will be announced!

Please enter your vote no later than August 15!


In this edition, our interviewee is Dr Carl Nising from Bayer, Germany. Get to know him by reading the interview below:


How did you get interested in Medicinal Chemistry?

During my chemistry studies I first fell in love with synthetic organic chemistry. Synthesizing and characterizing organic molecules was something I enjoyed a lot. In the course of my studies I then became attracted by the logic of retrosynthesis and natural product synthesis, which was then also the topic of my PhD thesis. Naturally, once you have synthesized complex organic molecules you also become interested in their pharmacological activity and the broader context of drug targets as well as pharmacokinetics.   

Where and when did you obtain your PhD diploma?

I obtained my PhD from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in 2006. During my undergraduate studies at University of Bonn, I decided to join the group of a freshly appointed organic chemistry professor, Stefan Bräse. Stefan was an outstanding mentor, giving every team member the feeling of pushing the boundaries and providing every support. Shortly after I joined the group, Stefan was appointed to KIT and I moved with the group. 

The topic of my PhD project was the total synthesis of the fungal natural product Diversonol which forms part of a larger group of fungal metabolites. Our goal was to apply a self-developed synthetic method to this group of natural products which in the end worked out. We published the total synthesis in Angewandte Chemie and the work was later confirmed by the Nicolaou group in an independent synthesis. Unfortunately, Diversonol turned out to have very limited biological activity, but this is also part of science. 

Where did you have your postdoc position?

For my postdoc, I had the opportunity to join Andy Myers’ group at Harvard University. This was a different universe and an enormous learning experience. Over the last few decades, Andy´s group has had an immense influence on the broader field of Life Sciences. As one example, the group´s work on several classes of antibiotics has clearly highlighted the power of small molecule drug discovery. What I found particularly impressive was the combination of synthetic organic chemistry with chemical biology as well as the commitment to push translation of inventions into clinical development via startup companies.

Where are you currently working and what is your current position?

I just recently started a new position within Bayer Pharmaceuticals as Head of Process R&D. In this role, I work with a talented team of chemists to push drug candidates into clinical development via chemical route optimisation and scale-up. Interestingly, this includes both small molecule candidates as well as new modalities such as protein conjugates or peptides.

Amongst other topics I am very interested in chemistry at the interface to other disciplines and modalities. To me, there sometimes has been a too reductionist view on organic chemistry as being focused on small molecules. In reality, breakthroughs in gene editing or modalities such as mRNA offer unique challenges and potential for organic chemists and chemical biologists.

How would you explain what your research area is to non-scientists?

I normally start by talking about diseases that everybody knows such as Covid-19, bacterial infections or different cancers. People then understand the context and societal relevance. Probably most of us have experienced the devastating impact of such diseases in our families and this creates a huge motivation to work in the pharma industry. I then also explain that drugs need to be synthesized in efficient amounts and quality in order to help patients.

What do you like best about your work?

First I like the relevance and purpose. Looking at the still large unmet medical need for many diseases and having witnessed the impact of disease in my family I do not need any additional motivation. Second, I like the breadth of scientific challenges which you find in a global company like Bayer. And third, I enjoy working with great colleagues from which I also learn a lot.

What kind of tasks does your work involve?

There are a variety of tasks that also varies over time. Let me focus on two examples: One task is to steer a portfolio of projects with my team. Here, we need to make sure that the projects keep their timelines during preclinical and clinical development and that we deliver CMC packages that meet regulatory requirements. The second task is to take a strategic view on my team and define where we need to adopt novel technologies and/or further develop our expertise.

What kind of skills does your work require?

To me, leadership and communication skills are essential. As a young student, I was very motivated by my PhD advisor who was a role model and mentor to me. The same should hold true for every leader, i.e. understanding the individual needs of your coworkers and providing a work environment of trust and honesty. Communication skills are also very important in today´s complex working environment. Here I would also add emotional intelligence: communication is not only talking but also carefully listening. Of course, scientific expertise also matters so that you can discuss on eye-level with other scientists and have a credible voice.

What do you consider your greatest achievement in your scientific career?

For the last 10 years, I have been a lecturer for medicinal chemistry and agrochemistry at KIT and Freie Universität Berlin. Over the years, several students became attracted to the field due to the lectures and some even started their career in industry. This makes me very happy and proud.

Which of your papers are you most proud of and why?

During my PhD thesis I accomplished the total synthesis of the fungal metabolite Diversonol together with a lab colleague which we then could publish in Angewandte Chemie. It was a great experience synthesizing a molecule that had never been synthesized by humans before and being able to publish the synthesis in a high-ranking journal.

What are the features of a successful PhD student or postdoc?

From my point of view there are several important features for any scientist: an intrinsic motivation and joy working on scientific projects that also helps to overcome unavoidable drawbacks. A critical mindset that allows to critically judge scientific results from yourself and others. Creativity in problem solving that helps to identify new avenues and solutions. And then let´s not forget communication: Being able to present scientific work to others with a focus on the audience is a sometimes underestimated skill.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to know more about your field?

Attend my lecture''.chr('128522').''. Seriously, I would recommend anyone to tap into the various blogs and social media activities that provide a good overview. For example, the blog “In the pipeline” by Derek Lowe covers many important aspects of drug discovery and medicinal chemistry.

Have you experienced any unfair situations during your scientific career? How would you advise scientists facing similar situations?

Of course there will always be situations that from a personal judgement one considers unfair. But when it comes to outright discrimination or mobbing, my clear advice would be to speak up and leverage escalation that should be in place in every organisation.

What would you like to ask from other medicinal chemists?

First I think we all need to play a more active role in communicating what we are doing and the impact our work has on society. Second, we need to constantly build on breakthroughs in other disciplines and broaden our repertoire of modalities. Examples like Protacs and mRNA clearly show that there is ample of opportunity for medicinal chemists to constantly push the limits of drugability. 

What is the most embarrassing thing you have done in the lab while doing experiments, e.g. explosions?

During my postdoc I was working with larger amounts of triflic acid during a scale-up campaign. I had chosen a cannula with an insufficient diameter and it was not properly affixed to the syringe. This caused a major spill – fortunately inside the fume hood. A colleague immediately helped me to neutralize the spill with bicarbonate solution.

Which field of medicinal chemistry do you consider the most promising for the future?

In general I think there is tremendous opportunity in the area of new modalities. It is still early days in areas like protacs or RNA targeting but I believe we will see many exciting advances in the future. Then let´s not forget the potential of small molecules in the context of precision medicine. 

What would you expect to be the next major breakthrough in medicinal chemistry?

One area that I would like to highlight is selective tissue targeting. This is a problem largely unsolved for most modalities and once solved it has the potential to deliver superior outcomes. There is a lot of exciting work ongoing in early R&D and I am optimistic that we will see breakthroughs at least mid-term.


The XX edition of the National Meeting of the Spanish Society of Medicinal Chemistry (SEQT) has been held in Santiago de Compostela from June 19 to June 22, 2022. With the motto “From Discovery to Translational Medicinal Chemistry” near 160 participants attended the meeting that covered a wide spectrum of current topics: Beyond preliminary optimization in drug discovery, new horizons in GPCR-targeted medicinal chemistry, small molecule immunomodulators in cancer, covalent drugs and allosteric modulators, fluorescent molecular probes, and targeted protein degradation. The engaging scientific program, the quality of the invited speakers and the grants for young researchers offered by the SEQT attracted a large number of participants. Within the framework of the meeting, the SEQT officially presented the Ramón Madroñero SEQT 2021 award, granted 6 research projects sponsored by pharma and biotech companies, and recognized the best posters and flash communications.

The Spanish Society of Medicinal Chemistry (SEQT), member of the European Federation of Medicinal Chemistry and Chemical Biology (EFMC), has been held its XX National Meeting “From Early Discovery to Translational Medicinal Chemistry” from June 19-22 in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. The meeting marked a new milestone in SEQT ''.chr('769').''s history, as we celebrated our XX congress. Since its foundation, 45 years ago, the SEQT has organized biennial meetings, attracting a growing number of national and international participants. During the SEQT ''.chr('769').''s conferences we have discovered the latest trends in drug discovery, as well as innovative drugs that changed diverse therapeutic paradigms. Several generations of Medicinal Chemists have grown up and developed their scientific careers with the support and partnership of the SEQT. We organize congresses, workshops, summer schools and young researchers' symposiums. These events contributed to disseminate knowledge, complement the training of new generations of Medicinal Chemists and recognize their achievements through the SEQT ''.chr('769').''s awards. With a vibrant social media presence and an increasing number of members, the SEQT moves with the times.

The meeting was attended by 160 participants from different countries: 125 from Spain, 29 from five EU countries, and 6 from non-EU countries. The four-day meeting, with many scientific highlights (20 invited speakers, 16 oral communications, 12 flash presentations and 92 posters), got 15 % participants from industry and 40 % were trainee registrations (35 supported by the SEQT as a part of the young scientist support program). The scientific program covered several topics in leading research areas and diseases, including preliminary optimization in drug discovery, new horizons in GPCR-targeted medicinal chemistry, small molecule immunomodulators in cancer, covalent drugs and allosteric modulators, fluorescent molecular probes, and targeted protein degradation. The scientific sessions were complemented by networking sessions and a trade exhibition.

During the opening ceremony, the awards of the XX edition of the SEQT were granted. Olaia Martí-Marí [Instituto de Química Médica (IQM-CSIC), Madrid] received the Ramón Madroñero Award. Andrea L. Turcu, Carolina Izquierdo, Javier García-Marín, Vanesa Nozal and Sandra Codony received prizes sponsorized by Enantia, Galchimia, Janssen-Cilag, Almirall and Lilly respectively. During the closing session, 4 prizes were awarded to the best posters presented and 2 prizes to the best flash communications.


The DMCCB is pleased to invite you to the Peptide Therapeutics Forum 2022 taking place August 25 and 26 at the University Hospital Basel, Switzerland, and the SCS Fall Meeting 2022 taking place September 8 at the University of Zurich, Irchel Campus, Switzerland.

The Peptide Therapeutics Forum 2022 is a two-day event that promotes exchange on the various aspects of peptides with a focus on drug development ( It will take place on August 25 and 26, 2022 at the University Hospital Basel, Switzerland. The outstanding speaker line-up features 16 lectures of internationally recognized speakers from both academia and industry. The goal of the event is to disseminate information on the latest developments in the broad field of therapeutic peptides and to stimulate a discussion on future trends and opportunities. To increase networking amongst the peptide community, there will also be a poster session and Apéro on the first day of the event. 

The SCS Fall Meeting 2022 is one of the largest annual research conferences in Switzerland. The conference sessions cover a broad range of topics, ranging from analytical sciences, medicinal chemistry and chemical biology to polymers, colloids and interfaces. Program highlights include plenary lectures of SCS prize winners 2022, thematic parallel sessions with keynote lectures and student presentations as well as an award program for best oral and best poster presentation. After two years of not being able to hold this meeting face-to-face, we are very excited to welcome you back in person and meet you at the Irchel Campus in Zurich! Please find additional information on this conference here.


The BMCS is delighted to announce some upcoming events.

  • AI in Chemistry: 5th RCS-BMCS /RSC-CICAG Artificial Intelligence in Chemistry
  • 8th RSC/SCI symposium on GPCRs in Medicinal Chemistry
  • RSC-BMCS Targeted Protein Degradation: “Three’s a crowd?”
  • 7th RSC-BMCS / SCI Symposium on Ion Channels as Therapeutic Targets

AI in Chemistry: 5th RCS-BMCS /RSC-CICAG Artificial Intelligence in Chemistry

1st and 2nd September 2022, Churchill College, Cambridge and virtual


Synopsis:  Artificial Intelligence is presently experiencing a renaissance in development of new methods and practical applications to ongoing challenges in Chemistry. Following the successes of three annual “Artificial Intelligence in Chemistry” meetings starting in 2018, we are pleased to announce that the Biological & Medicinal Chemistry Sector (BMCS) and Chemical Information & Computer Applications Group (CICAG) of the Royal Society of Chemistry are once again organising a conference to present the current efforts in applying these new methods. The meeting will be held over two days and combine aspects of artificial intelligence and deep machine learning methods to applications in chemistry


8th RSC/SCI symposium on GPCRs in Medicinal Chemistry

5th to 7th October 2022, Verona, Italy

Delegate Registration and Exhibitor/Sponsor registration is now open

Synopsis: The key role of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) in human disease underpins their importance to modern medicine. We are pleased to be holding this 8th meeting in the series on GPCR drug discovery, which will combine cutting edge medicinal chemistry with innovative structural biology and novel drug design approaches.


RSC-BMCS Targeted Protein Degradation: “Three’s a crowd ?”
16th and 17th November 2022, Virtual

Delegate Registration and Exhibitor/Sponsor registration is now open

Synopsis: Targeted protein degradation is a rapidly developing field of drug discovery which is expanding the proportion of human proteins which are tractable drug targets. Whereas conventional small molecules are designed to block the activity of a protein, targeted protein degraders act by harnessing biological pathways to remove the protein entirely. This conference will showcase presentations showing the application and development of degradation technologies such as molecular glues and heterobifunctional degraders (e.g. PROTACs)


7th RSC-BMCS / SCI Symposium on Ion Channels as Therapeutic Targets
27th – 28th March 2023, Wellcome Genome Campus, Cambridge

Closing dates for oral and poster abstracts are 9th September and 31st December, respectively


Synopsis:  Ion channels are important targets for therapeutic intervention due to their extensive roles in human physiology and the pathophysiology of disease. Many successful drugs targeting this gene family have been discovered for diseases such as hypertension, epilepsy and neuropathic pain.

This symposium, the 7th in an ongoing series, will showcase the most recent advances to aid the design of new ion channel therapeutics and promote interaction between scientists with a shared interest in the field of ion channel drug discovery.




X-Chem combines the power of the world’s leading DEL platform (more than 100 licensed programs) with world-class medicinal chemistry.

Find out how X-Chem can take you from hit to candidate selection in a little over two years.

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

September 8-9, 2022
Nice, France
9th EFMC Young Medicinal Chemists' Symposium 


August 8-9, 2022
Dublin, Ireland
Chemical Biology Ireland Conference

September 11-14, 2022
Bari, Italy
27th National Meeting in Medicinal in Medicinal Chemistry

September 15-17, 2022
Ljubljana, Slovenia
9th BBBB International Conference on Pharmaceutical Sciences - Pharma sciences of tomorrow

September 26-30, 2022
Heidelberg, Germany
23rd European Symposium on Quantitative Structure-Activity Relationship

September 27, 2022
Virtual Event
2nd Munich Leiden Virtual ChemBio Talks


September 11-15, 2022
Les Diablerets (VD), Switzerland
Swiss Summer School on Chemical Biology

October 9-14, 2022
Leysin, Switzerland
Swiss School on Medicinal Chemistry in Leysin


September 21-23, 2022
Rimini, Italy
Summer School in Pharmaceutical Analysis (SSPA2022)


Postdoctoral Research Assistant, Dundee, Centre for Targeted Protein Degradation, UNITED KINGDOM
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Postdoctoral Researcher radioligands for imaging tumor-associated proteases, Wilrijk, University of Antwerp, BELGIUM
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PhD candidate radioligands targeting tumor-associated proteases, Wilrijk, University of Antwerp, BELGIUM
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Lab Team Leader Crop Protection Drug Discovery (m/f/d), BASF SE, Fungicide Chemistry Ludwigshafen, GERMANY
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Various jobs opportunities, Sygnature Discovery UNITED KINGDOM
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Cell Culture Scientist, Peak Proteins, Peak Proteins Macclesfield, UNITED KINGDOM
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Principal Scientist (Protein X-ray Crystallography), Peak Proteins, Peak Proteins Macclesfield, UNITED KINGDOM
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Protein Scientist, Peak Proteins, Peak Proteins Macclesfield, UNITED KINGDOM
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Senior Protein Scientist, Peak Proteins, Peak Proteins Macclesfield, UNITED KINGDOM
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More jobs opportunities
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