Monthly Newsletter January 2019

The EFMC Yearbook 2019 is now available online!

We are pleased to make available the electronic version of the official EFMC Yearbook 2019, "Medicinal Chemistry in Europe", which is a valuable resource for those interested in quickly finding information on all things EFMC, such as the activities and composition of Member Societies, Corporate Members and  the activities and events of EFMC and its working groups.

View online

Download the PDF 

EFMC Grants - Applications are open

EFMC funds grants with to support the participation of young academic scientists in EFMC organised events.

Grant applications for the following 2019 events are now open:

15th EFMC Short Course on Medicinal Chemistry - Small Becomes Big in Medicinal Chemistry: Fragment-based Drug Discovery
(deadline for application is March 1, 2019) - Link to the Event

EFMC|ACSMEDI Medicinal Chemistry Frontiers 2019
(deadline for application is March 14, 2019) - Link to the Event

EFMC-ASMC’19 : International Symposium on Advances in Medicinal Chemistry
(deadline for application is March 20, 2019) - Link to the Event

6th EFMC Young Medicinal Chemist Symposium (only in combination with the EFMC-ASMC’19)
(Combined grant with the EFMC-ASMC’19) - Link to the Event

To apply for an EFMC grant, please fill in the application form before the deadline and upload your CV, publication list, abstract, cover letter and letter of support from your supervisor.

For successful applicants, full registration fees for EFMC-ISMC, EFMC-ASMC, ACSMEDI-EFMC Medicinal Chemistry Frontiers and up to 50% of the registration fee for the EFMC Short Courses or the EFMC Accredited School will be covered by EFMC.

Please note that EFMC Grants are only available to the members of EFMC National Adhering Organisations, a full list of which is available here.

Call for nominations - EFMC Prizes 2019

To recognise the achievements of outstanding young medicinal chemists (≤ 12 years after PhD) working in European industry and in academia, EFMC has established the EFMC Prize for a Young Medicinal Chemist in Industry and the EFMC Prize for a Young Medicinal Chemist in Academia.

The Prizes consist of a certificate, € 1.000 and an invitation for a short presentation at the EFMC-ASMC’19: International Symposium on Advances in Medicinal Chemistry, which will be held in Athens, Greece on September 1-5, 2019.

Applications and regulations can be found on

Deadline: January 31, 2019

I am a Medicinal Chemist: meet Ana Sofia Newton (Yale University, Usa)

In this edition, we highlight yet another particular female #Iamamedicinalchemist. Ana Sofia Newton from Yale University, who enjoys working in a creative environment.

Do you also think drug design requires creativity? Discover her story!

How did you get interested in Medicinal Chemistry? 

I had an interest in Chemistry very early on. I did my undergrad studies at the Faculty of Science in Lisbon. At the time Martinho Simões, a distinguished Physical Chemistry Professor, and Amélia Pilar Rauter a pioneer in Carbohydrate Chemistry had a profound impact on me and my initial directions in research. I became more and more interested in Medicinal Chemistry and decided to do my graduate studies at the Faculty of Pharmacy and develop my knowledge in both Medicinal and Computational Chemistry under the supervision of Prof. Rui Moreira and Prof. Rita Guedes.

Where and when did you obtain your PhD diploma? What was the topic of your PhD project?
I obtained my PhD diploma at the University of Lisbon in 2013. “Design, Synthesis, and Evaluation of Peptidyl Inhibitors for Clan CA and Clan CD Cysteine Proteases.” A big title but basically I applied Medicinal and Computational skills for the development of anti-malaria and anti-neurodegenerative agents. It was pretty exciting and I learned tons.

Where did you have your postdoc position?
My interest in drug discovery and Medicinal Chemistry assisted by computer aided-methods lead me to William Jorgensen’s lab at Yale University. Throughout my doctoral and postdoctoral work, I was particularly interested in being able to apply both computational chemistry and organic synthesis in drug discovery. I knew that applying computational strategies to design small molecule inhibitors was important, but at the same time having a strong synthetic background would allow me to rapidly distinguish computational hits that could be feasibly synthesized from those that would represent a substantial synthetic challenge.

Where do you work at the moment and what is your current position? What are your current research interests?
Currently I work at Yale University as an Associate Research Scientist where I am leading two collaborative research projects to design potent, safe, easily administrated, and long-acting small molecule inhibitors that could reduce or eliminate blood cancer growth and skin cancer. The approach combines state-of-the-art technology for molecular design, synthetic organic chemistry, biological assaying, and crystallographic determination of structures of the designed molecules bound to their protein target.

What do you like most in your job? What kind of tasks and skills your job includes?’
I would say being surrounded by people with a lot of creativity. Also, attention to detail and enormous passion for drug discovery are good skills to have if you want to be a good scientist. Perseverance, working as a group and always pushing the projects forward because you will most likely find a breakthrough.

How many PhD and postdoc students do you have at the moment?
Are you currently looking for a new PhD and postdoc students?
We have 3 PhD students and 4 Postdocs. Currently we have two Medicinal Chemistry Postdoctoral positions open. They will work in close collaboration with experts in computer-aided drug design, biological assays, and protein crystallography.

What are the features of a successful PhD student or postdoc?
Strong organic and medicinal chemistry bench skills, good interpersonal skills, flexibility, and the ability to work well within an interdisciplinary team environment.

Which scientist do you admire the most and why?
I suspect the expected answer would be Sir Isaac Newton. The brilliant British mathematician and physicist is definitely among my top choices. For Newton, all there was in the world was matter moving. His equations are so effective we still use them today. However, Albert Einstein proved that time and space are shaped by matter. He could take a hard, physical problem and boil it down to a powerful visual image, a thought experiment. A creativity process that very few are able to achieve.

Find her on Twitter! @AnaSofiaNewton

“Frontiers in Medicinal Chemistry FIMC 2019” - jointly organised by GDCH, DPHG and SCS

The German Chemical Society (GDCh), the German Pharmaceutical Society (DPhG) and the Swiss Chemical Society (SCS) cordially invite you to participate in ´Frontiers in Medicinal Chemistry´, to be held on March 24th to 27th 2019 in Würzburg, Germany.

Deadlines to submit abstracts for Oral Presentations or Posters are respectively January 18, and February 1! 

The international symposium will focus on current developments, novel approaches and cutting-edge technologies in the field of medicinal chemistry and drug research with sessions on Computer Aided Drug Design & Artificial Intelligence, G-protein Coupled Receptors, Target Engagement, Case Studies and Highlights in Medicinal Chemistry and Technology.

The scientific program will include plenary lectures, short lectures, and poster presentations. Furthermore, oral communications of (post)doctoral junior scientists (young investigators) will be considered.

It is the goal of the organizers to make this meeting an event of scientific excellence, attractive to both industrial and academic scientists in Medicinal Chemistry and related fields of research.

More information:
See the list of speakers

News from the European Chemical Society (EuChemS) – 6th ECBS/LS-EuChemS meeting

EuChemS is pleased to announce the 6th ECBS/LS-EuChemS meeting, to be held in Madrid, Spain on April 3-5, 2019 ( The meeting brings together the 6th European Chemical Biology Symposium and the meeting of the EuChemS Division “Chemistry in Life Sciences” (LS-EuChemS) and it is jointly organized by EuChemS and EU-OPENSCREEN, and is being supported by the EFMC.

See the list of speakers!  

Chemical biologists from all parts of Europe and overseas come together to present and discuss the latest achievements in cutting edge chemical sciences. This present joint meeting gathers researchers from organic & biological chemistry, proteins biotechnology, computational biology, protocells, machine learning, bacterial resistance, drug discovery, synthetic biology, biomedical materials and chemical glycobiology.

The venue for the 6th ECBS/LS-EuChemS meeting will be at CSIC headquarters beautifully located near to Madrid city center. It offers a perfect base for exploring the historic centre of Madrid.

The French Medicinal Chemistry Society (SCT) celebrates ten years of Chemical Biology!

For ten years now, the SCT has contributed to highlighting modern Chemical Biology and its contribution to Medicinal Chemistry through specialized meetings, workshops and publications. This was all inspired by the emergence and evolution of new chemical approaches to the exploration of new biological mechanisms. 

As early as 2008, during the annual International Conference on Medicinal Chemistry (RICT) organized by the SCT, a specific session was often devoted to the deep connections between Chemical Biology and Medicinal Chemistry, and was originally entitled “Chemical Biology, Life Sciences and Drug Discovery: How to Promote Cross-Talk?” This gave birth to the series of “Interfacing Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery” conferences every two years (see On the same web page, you can download editorials written by high standing scientists who share their own vision of the evolution of Medicinal Chemistry including the contribution of Chemical Biology.

The SCT also organized One-Day Thematic symposia in spring or fall, focusing on the contribution of Chemical Biology to molecular therapeutic innovations:
- Chemical Biology: Contribution to Molecular Therapeutic Innovation. - A New Role for Chemistry? –(November 26th, 2013)
- Chemical Biology: Bioorthogonal Chemistry contributing to Molecular Therapeutic Innovation (April 8th, 2015)
- Chemical Biology: Contribution to Molecular Therapeutic Innovation - Conjugates and Drug Discovery Chemistry: new challenges for targeted therapies – (December 7th, 2017)

Our contribution to the development of these activities has also been shared through publications:
- Sciences chimiques et sciences de la vie : une coalescence prometteuse pour la pharmacie (Benoît Déprez) [in French] L’Actualité chimique - décembre 2012 - n° 369, 5-7 (
- Chemical Biology: Contribution to Molecular Therapeutic Innovation − A New Role for Chemistry? Report from the Thematic Symposium Organized by the SCT (French Medicinal Chemistry Society), November 26th, 2013 (Frédéric Schmidt, Pascal George, Janos Sapi), ACS Chem. Biol. 2014, 9, 849−852 (
- Interfacing Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery: Report from the 50th International Conference on Medicinal Chemistry of the SCT (French Medicinal Chemistry Society), July 2−4, 2014, Rouen, France (Janos Sapi, Frédéric Schmidt, Luc Van Hijfte, Pascal George), ACS Chem. Biol. 2014, 9, 2702−2707 (

The SCT strongly believes that Chemical Biology approaches, aimed at understanding and manipulating biological processes, are key assets for the discovery of new medicines, prognostic and diagnostic agents.

News from the Biological and Medicinal Chemistry Sector (BMCS) of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC)

The BMCS is pleased to announce the awardees of the 12th BMCS Postgraduate Symposium, as well as some upcoming events.

7th RSC-BMCS Fragment-based Drug Discovery
24th to 26th March 2019, Churchill College, Cambridge, UK
The call for poster abstracts will close on 10th February 2019

Recent Progress in Integrin-targeted Drug Discovery
28thMarch 2019, Royal Society of Chemistry at Burlington House, London, UK
The call for poster abstracts will close on 7th February

12th BMCS Postgraduate Symposium: the Awardees

The 12th BMCS biological and medicinal chemistry symposium was held in Cambridge on Friday 7th December 2018 and attracted an audience of over 150 registered attendees who heard three plenary lectures and 8 student lectures. There were also 21 poster presentations and the quality of the science presented was yet again extremely high.

The overall winner for the best oral communication was Gina Washbourn from the University of Liverpool while the runner-up was Ellen Watts from the Institute of Cancer Research. The prize for the best poster communication went to Camille Metier from Kings College London while the runner up prize and the participant’s prize went to Christopher Woodley from the University of Liverpool and Corentine Laurin from the University of Oxford, respectively. Apart from receiving a cheque for £300, Gina will also represent the UK at the Young Medicinal Chemists Symposium in Athens on 5th and 6th September 2019.

All the prize awardees were also given an RSC certificate commemorating their achievement and one year’s e-subscription to MedChemComm. Camille was awarded a cheque for £150 and she and the other prize-winners and runners up will be given bursaries of up to £250 to attend the Mastering Medicinal Chemistry V symposium at Lilly in Windlesham on 13th March 2019

The organising committee are grateful to all those companies and individuals who provided sponsorship for this meeting, without which it would be difficult to hold it.

7th RSC-BMCS Fragment-based Drug Discovery
24th to 26th March 2019, Churchill College, Cambridge, UK
The call for poster abstracts will close on 10th February 2019

Synopsis:  The aim of the 7th RSC-BMCS Fragment-based Drug Discovery meeting will be 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. The Fragment series was started in 2007 and continues with the theme, having over three-quarters of the presentations focused on case studies. The conference will include successful examples from all types of fragment-based approaches, including high concentration, NMR, SPR and X-ray screening.

Recent Progress in Integrin-targeted Drug Discovery
28th March 2019, Royal Society of Chemistry at Burlington House, London, UK
The call for poster abstracts will close on 7th February 2019

Synopsis:  Integrin targeted therapeutics have been under investigation for some time, but few compounds have made it to / remained on the market due to side effects or lack of efficacy. Given the more recent structural insights, better understanding of downstream pathways, and potential application to a range of therapeutic areas, there has been a resurgence of interest in integrin inhibitors. This symposium will bring together researchers in this area to provide both a historical overview and recent progress in designing the next generation of integrin inhibitors.

This month’s highlighted MedChemComm article - Structure–Activity Relationship of the Cinnamamide Family of Antibiotic Potentiators for Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)

The article we’ve chosen for the MedChemComm article of the month is linked below. Shahriar Mobashery et al. of the University of Notre Dame describe a class of cinnamamide potentiators of β-lactam antibiotic activity against MRSA.

This article is one of the first publications of the upcoming MedChemComm Antimicrobial Resistance themed collection, Guest Edited by Professor Sylvie Garneau-Tsodikova.

Read the article!

The latest edition of MedChemComm, the official journal of the EFMC, is available at:




MedChemComm is the official journal of The European Federation for Medicinal Chemistry (EFMC), published by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

We welcome significant research in medicinal chemistry and related drug discovery science, including drug design and evaluation, target identification and validation, imaging, pharmacology and drug delivery.

More info...


February 20-22, 2019
Paris, France
26th Young Research Fellows Meeting

March 6-8, 2019
Frankfurt, Germany
EUFEPS Annual Meeting 2019

March 13, 2019
Windlesham, United Kingdom
5th RSC-BMCS Symposium on Mastering Medicinal Chemistry

March 28, 2019
London, United Kingdom
Integrin Targeted Drug Discovery

June 27-30, 2019
Prague, Czech Republic
11th Joint Meeting on Medicinal Chemistry


April 28 - May 1, 2019 
Oegstgeest (near Leiden), The Netherlands
15th EFMC Short Course on Medicinal Chemistry - Strategies in Fragment Based Drug Discovery

June 10-13, 2019 
Krakow, Poland
EFMC-ACSMEDI MedChem Frontiers 2019


September 11-13, 2019
Pescara, Italy
Summer School in Pharmaceutical Analysis (SSPA)

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