Passing Through Times of Crisis - A Message from EFMC

We have all seen that the spread of COVID-19 has a major impact on societies, as well as on our ability to conduct scientific activities. In consequence, EFMC postponed the Short Course on GPCRs to October, and replaced all face-to-face activities with online meetings. We do not know how long this situation will last, but as it will eventually get better, we decided to keep the dates of the EFMC-ISMC and EFMC-YMCS meetings in September for now. We hope that both events will run normally, but will of course postpone them if the wave of the pandemic does not abate soon enough to guarantee the safety of the participants.

I am confident that we are a strong scientific community and will recover quickly. Even though there is no doubt that the current crisis will have consequences, cohesion and solidarity will help us mitigate its impact. As scientists, we are experts at solving problems of all kinds: we will rebound, learn and exploit the opportunities created by these exceptional circumstances.

Both in the short and long term, my bet is that medicinal chemistry and chemical biology will help expand our knowledge on SARS-covid2 and deliver decisive contributions to therapeutic and diagnostic tools. In particular, research on antivirals and antibiotics will get a boost, while building bridges between industrial and academic research. Complex clinical development processes will also benefit from the learnings of ongoing emergency trials, as the urgency of the fight against CODIV-19 will force research and development scientists to come together, and review their approach to risk. In this environment, the players showing the capacity to adapt and take advantage of opportunities, while keeping a high level of scientific quality, will shape tomorrow’s world.

As of today, the focus remains on going through the crisis. Ultimately, we will manage well, as some wonderful examples of resilience and dedication already show: teachers spending extended hours recording their courses so that students can keep learning; labs offering all their gloves and masks to nearby hospitals; researchers jumping into the fight, ignoring barriers and developing initiatives against the virus; simple gestures of support across the community... These acts of heroism leave me with no doubt: with patience, we will all come out stronger from this.

Please continue reinforcing the messages around hygiene and social distancing.

Best wishes to you and your families, and stay healthy.

50th Anniversary Collage

EFMC more that anything is a community, and we want to celebrate all those who contributed to its success over the past 50 years!

Whether they contributed through events, awards, prizes, committees, Council membership, workshops or just by being part of the greater EFMC family of Medicinal Chemists and Chemical Biologists. We want to thank all those who helped establish and shape the EFMC, those who pilot it nowadays and those who will take over in the future. 

Now more than ever, the world need scientists that can cooperate and share their knowledge around the globe!

The below collage can only capture a small part of our members and activities, but we hope you will like it! We also call for more pictures to continue celebrating our achievements and our members. 

Stephan A. Sieber awardee of the Klaus Grohe Prize 2020

Prof. Stephan A. Sieber has been selected as awardee of the 2020 Klaus Grohe Prize.

The award will be conferred during the opening ceremony of the International Symposium on Medicinal Chemistry of the European Federation of Medicinal Chemistry (EFMC-ISMC 2020), scheduled on September 6-10, 2020 in Basel, Switzerland.

After the award ceremony on September 6, the prize winner will be invited to give a lecture.

Best Practices in Medicinal Chemistry: Validating Chemical Probes is available!

It’s with great pleasure that we release the first of our series on Best Practices in Medicinal Chemistry.

This one is dedicated to “validating chemical probes”. High quality chemical probes are essential to explore human biology and diseases and as chemists, we have a big role to play to ensure high quality of the published probes.

Files can be found under this link.

John Macor awardee of the 2020 IUPAC - Richter Prize

John Macor has been selected as awardee of the 2020 IUPAC-Richter Prize in recognition of his research work affording new drugs for the treatment of migraine. The acceptance lecture will be held in Basel, Switzerland in September 2020 at the XXVI European Federation of Medicinal Chemistry International Symposium on Medicinal Chemistry (EFMC-ISMC) and a second lecture at the 37th ACS National Medicinal Chemistry Symposium to be held in New York (June 28-July 1).

This  year marks the eighth occassion of the IUPAC-Richter Prize, which was established in 2005 by IUPAC (International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry) and Richter PLC. Awarded biannually, the awardee is announced by IUPAC following nominations and the decision of an indepedent international Selection Committee. According to the rules of the prize the awardee is expected to give two lectures,  one in Europe and one in the United States, at international symposiums on medicinal chemistry. The lecture in which the prize is awarded occurs alternatively in Europe and in the United States. The awardee receives $ 10 000, which is sponsored by Richter PLC,  and a plaque, which is presented by IUPAC.

The previous awardees were : 2006 : Malcolm FG Stevens (UK), 2008,  Jan Heeres (Belgium), 2010 :  Arun Ghosh (USA),  2012 : Stephen Hanessian (Canada),  2014 :  Helmut Buschmann (Germany), 2016 : Michael Sofia (USA) and 2018 : Peter Grootenhuis (USA)

EFMC Honorary Fellows

To kick off our 50th anniversary celebrations, we would like to recognise the immense contribution of those who not only brought EFMC into being in December 1969 but have helped to make it what it is today. We are, therefore, very proud to announce the award of the first EFMC Honorary Fellows.

The first recipients have created and nurtured the mission and vision of EFMC during its first 50 years. All are former Presidents but have been contributors above and beyond and remain active supporters of EFMC. Congratulations and thanks to:

• Prof. Henk Timmerman (VU University, The Netherlands)
• Prof. Ferran Sanz (University Pompeu Fabra, Spain)
• Prof. Roberto Pellicciari (TES Pharma, Italy)
• Prof. Gerhard Ecker (University of Vienna, Austria)
• Prof. Uli Stilz (Novo Nordisk, United States)
• Prof. Koen Augustyns (University of Antwerp, Belgium)

Additionally, due to his contribution in launching the series of EFMC-YMCS events, we are happy to recognize also:

• Prof. Chris De Graaf (Sosei Heptares, United Kingdom)

The official ceremony will take place during the opening of the XXVI EFMC International Symposium on Medicinal Chemistry (EFMC-ISMC 2020), scheduled to take place in Basel, Switzerland from September 6-10, 2020.

The EFMC recognition programme will continue awarding outstanding contributors to EFMC and sciences in the future with a system of open call for nominations – to be launched in fall 2020.    

EFMC Yearbook 2020 is available

The official EFMC Yearbook 2020, "Medicinal Chemistry in Europe" 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.

It is available to view online or to download and keep.

A step forward for Medicinal Chemistry recognition in Europe

For many years the lack of a visibility of medicinal chemistry as a scientific discipline within the panel structure of the European Research Council (ERC) was a limiting factor for medicinal chemists to submit grant applications and to be successful.

The European Federation for Medicinal Chemistry (EFMC) invited Prof. Klaus Bock, at that time Vice-President of ERC, to present a lecture at the opening ceremony of its flagship event, the International Symposium on Medicinal Chemistry (EFMC-ISMC) in Manchester, August 2016. During a follow-up meeting with him, the EFMC President and President-elect discussed this matter and showed the important position of medicinal chemistry in the scientific landscape.

We are grateful that medicinal chemistry is now listed for the first time as a keyword (PE5_18) in the Synthetic Chemistry and Materials Panel (PE5) of the Physical Sciences and Engineering field. This is adopted for all 2019 calls for Starting, Consolidator and Advanced Grants within ERC.

We hope that this will largely increase the visibility of medicinal chemistry within ERC, that rapidly became the most prestigious funding body to support excellent, investigator-driven frontier research in Europe.

We wish all scientists a lot of success in submitting their grant applications in one of the ERC calls.