In memoriam - Prof. François Diederich (ETH Zurich, Switzerland)

It was with great sadness that we learnt of the death of Professor François Diederich, Professor Organic Chemistry at ETH Zurich.

After receiving his doctoral degree from the University of Heidelberg, Professor Diederich moved to the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) from 1979 to 1981 for postdoctoral studies. He subsequently became a research associate at the Max-Planck-Institute for medical research in Heidelberg, and in 1985, Professor Diederich joined the faculty of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UCLA as an associate professor (1985-1989) and as a full professor (1989-1992). In 1992 he was appointed Professor of Organic Chemistry at ETH Zurich. Recipient of many prestigious awards, Professor Diederich continued actively involved in research after his retirement in 2017.

In 2016, EFMC awarded Professor Diederich the Nauta Pharmacochemistry Award for Medicinal Chemistry in recognition for his outstanding contributions to the science of medicinal chemistry, including the understanding of non-bonding interactions involved in molecular recognition and their application in modern drug design. His scientific work is documented in more than 700 publications and beautifully describes interactions such as sulfur-aromatics, cation-Pi, fluorine interactions and halogen bonding that are actively used by many scientists around the world in the discovery of novel drugs. More recently, Professor Diederich joined EFMC’s Advisory Board, where he decisively contributed to the visibility of the medicinal chemistry and chemical biology community.

EFMC regrets the loss of this outstanding scientist and presents its condolences to his family at this sad time.

Best Practices in Medicinal Chemistry: Phenotypic Drug Discovery is available!

Phenotypic drug discovery (PDD) has contributed to the discovery of many innovative drugs and has received a growing attention over the last few years.

In this second Webinar by the EFMC Best Practices in Medicinal Chemistry Working Groupwe present the opportunities and challenges of phenotypic drug discovery and share best practices used in industry and academia.

We hope this will help students, early career professionals as well as experienced researchers recognize the full potential of this fascinating approach and understand the key questions and challenges that need to be addressed to discover novel drugs from phenotypic approaches.

The webinar is accompanied with two case studies from the recent literature highlighting the application of some key aspects of PDD.

Slides can be downloaded here and recordings are also available on the EFMC YouTube Channel.

EuroMedChem Talents 2021 - Special Collection Announced

ChemMedChem, EFMC, and its Young Scientists Network (YSN) present the EuroMedChemTalents Special Collection. This collaboration is the first of its kind for the journal and the EFMC, and is also our first collection dedicated to Early-Career Researchers.

This collaborative project coincides with the EFMC‘s 50th Anniversary in 2020 and ChemMedChem‘s 15th Anniversary in 2021, and celebrates our close cooperation through the years. Taking the lead in this project are our Guest Editors Yves Auberson (current EFMC President) and Filipa Ramilo Gomes (Instituto Superior Técnico, University of Lisbon).

Both ChemMedChem and the EFMC are aware of the great contributions of younger researchers in drug discovery today and how important it is to support this generation of research leaders. This Special Collection aims to showcase the latest work from these young scientists in Europe. Contributing Authors featured here are nominated by the EFMC or the ChemMedChem editors and board members. These authors are considered figures that will shape the future of research at the interface of chemistry, biology, and medicine. To be eligible, authors must be based in an institute within Europe at the time of nomination and should have received their PhDs only within the last 12 years. If you wish to nominate a specific early-career researcher based in Europe (including yourself), please get in touch with the Editorial Office by e-mail, so that the screening committee can evaluate your nomination.

All articles will be published in regular issues of ChemMedChem (or possibly ChemBioChem for chembio-heavy work), but all collected under the EuroMedChem Talents page for easy access. Articles in the collection will also be free to read for at least a year, beginning 2021.

Finally, in the collection, you will also find interesting EFMC Anniversary Articles featuring its history, projects, and future plans.

Main nominations from the EFMC & ChemMedChem, invitations will go out in October.

Nominations are also welcome, send to chemmedchem@chemistry-europe.org by September 30.

4th EFMC-YSN MedChemBioOnline
September 29 (17:00 - 19:15 CET)

Do not miss the opportunity to listen to the amazing programme of the 4th EFMC-YSN MedChemBioOnline. 

Registration is open to all and free of charge!


Dr Filipa Ramilo Gomes (Instituto Superior Técnico, University of Lisbon, Portugal)
Dr Leire Iralde Lorente (University of Siena, Italy)

  • 17:00 | Opening
  • 17:05 | Tools and Drugs to Target Purinergic Signalling for Cancer Immunotherapy 
    Prof. Christa Müller (University of Bonn, Germany)
  • 17:50 | Sponsor Presentation 
  • 18:00 | Women in Medicinal Chemistry: Per Aspera Ad Astra
    Prof. Maria Laura Bolognesi (University of Bologna, Italy)
  • 18:30 | Round Table discussion - "Gender balance in Medicinal Chemistry: How can we do better?" 
    Prof. Maria Laura Bolognesi (University of Bologna, Italy)
    Dr Sharon Bryant (Inte:ligand GmbH, Austria) 
    Prof. Rui Moreira (University of Lisbon & EFMC, Portugal)
    Prof. Christa Müller (University of Bonn, Germany)
    Prof. Maud Reiter (Firmenich, Switzerland)
  • 19:15 | End of the meeting  

Missed the previous editions of the EFMC-YSN MedChemBioOnline?

Whether you did not know about the event (yet) or simply missed the live...fear not, you can still watch part of the content on the EFMC YouTube Channel 

Make sure to register and attend the 4th EFMC YSN MedChemBioOnline to benefit from exclusive content available during the live event only! 

EFMC-YMCS 2020 - Presentation Prize Winner Announced

This year again, the competition was fierce and it was a real challenge for the jury to decide whom of the 12 promising scientists would be awarded the title of European Champion at the end of the 7th EFMC Young Medicinal Chemists' Symposium, held virtually on September 10-11, 2020.

We are pleased to announce that the 2020 winner is Ms Jessica Reynolds (University of Oxford, United Kingdom) for her presentation entitled: "Design and Synthesis of Chemical Tools to Probe the Function of Trim33". She will be invited to deliver an oral communication at the EFMC-ISMC 2021 in Basel (August 29-September 2, 2021).

Congratulations to her!

Virtual Poster Session - Best Poster Prizes Announced

More than 200 posters were submitted at the occasion of the EFMC-ISMC & EFMC-YMCS Virtual Poster Session. The jury took its time to screen them all and to exchange with the authors via the chatting tool activated on September 9, 2020.

The below 9 winners were awarded an "EFMC Best Poster Prizes", sponsored this year by ChemMedChem/ChemBioChem.

Chemical Biology/Technology

P012 - Charlotte Sornay (University of Strasbourg, FR)
P082 - Verena Kunig (TU Dortmund, DE)
P141 - Sofia Parrasia (University of Padova, IT)
P008 - Anna Duran-Corbera (Institute for Advanced Chemistry of Catalonia, ES)

Drug Discovery Projects

P003 - Daniel Baillache (University of Edinburgh, UK)
P015 - Cosmin Butnarasu (Università degli Studi di Torino, IT)
P089 - Silvia Bonomo (Charles River Discover, UK)
P168 - Greta Bagnolini (University of Bologna, IT)
P206 - Daniel Kohnhäuser (Helmholtz center for Infection Research, DE)

Congratulations to all of them!

EFMC Photo Competition 2020 - Winners announced

The Communication Team is proud to announce the winner and runner of its annual Photo Competition, held this year entirely virtually through the EFMC Instagram Channel.

The winner is Cem Yamali (Turkey) and the second place is awarded to Pallabi Sengupta (India).

Winners of the EFMC Quizzes

In the course of the last months, EFMC launched a serie of Quizzes mixing science facts and questions about EFMC history. Many contestants competed to win one of the "EFMC Goodiebox" and we want to thank you all for your participation.

Here are the winners and runners-up:

  •  1st Quiz
    •  Davide Benedetto Tiz (Croatia) 
    •  Katja Veber (Slovenia) 
    •  Pavla Perlikova (Czech Republic) 
  •  2nd Quiz
    • Jack Roberts (United Kingdom)
    • Matjaz Brvar (Germany)
    • Kristina Pavic (Croatia)
  •  3rd Quiz
    • Adam Smalley (United Kingdom)
    • Hrvoje Rimac (Hungary)
    • Usman Shabbir (United Kingdom)

EFMC plans to launch similar events in the near future, so stay tuned to our website and social media! 

Best Practices in Medicinal Chemistry: Copyright

It’s with great pleasure that we release new content on Best Practices in Medicinal Chemistry.

Copyright broadly refers to the legal rights of an owner of intellectual property, but the principles are not always clear to non-experts. Copyright is, however, present at every stage of scientific research and we face their implications daily, sometimes without knowing it.

In two slide decks, Martine Roth (Principal Trademark Attorney & Copyright at Novartis Pharma AG) briefly present the basic of copyright and introduce "Creative Commons", a nonprofit organization enabling the sharing and use of creative works through free legal tools.

Files can be found under this link.

Covid-19: A message from EFMC

The current pandemic has repercussions through the entire world, and of course EFMC also endures its consequences. While postponing several events, we however kept in mind that challenges create opportunities, and we are now developing an online offer to keep our community dynamic and well-connected. You will find some initial information about the next steps in this newsletter. Stay tuned to EFMC over the next few months, and take advantage of our upcoming activities and virtual symposia.

We are not at the end of the pandemic, not yet, and we learned a few good lessons already. We learned that even though good hygiene can bend an epidemic effectively, medicinal chemistry and chemical biology will remain critical in discovering these badly needed drugs and vaccines. We saw that our community is flexible in difficult times, and that academia and pharmaceutical industries can come together to make science progress very fast. I hope we will remember that after the pandemic. Looking back at how fast our knowledge of the disease has progressed, it is worth ensuring that we collaborate better in the future. We have also learned new ways to work and interact while staying at home. Will it influence our travelling, work and consumption habits, and help reduce stress and environmental impact in the long term? It is up to us. I hope we will all take the opportunity of this experience to pause, think, and implement solutions for a better future. 

For now, please keep leading by example and actively spread science-based information about the pandemic. Our scientific community can contribute help and guidance through the first steps of de-confinement. It is important to show patience and do it right as we do not want to see a second wave of contamination. We also want to fight unnecessary fears, which in the long term would handicap our society. After these difficult months, let’s get ready to embrace a future that capitalizes on the new opportunities, and the best possible science. 

I’m looking forward to seeing you all again soon – maybe virtually?

Stay healthy and confident,

EFMC Awards 2020 - Laureates

The EFMC is happy to announce the names of the 2020 Award winners.

Prof. Adriaan Ijzerman (Leiden University, The Netherlands) 

For his leading contributions as a pioneer of GPCR drug discovery and structural biology, and his support of the medicinal chemistry and chemical biology community. His research led to over 450 publications, many of them achieving high international visibility. An excellent mentor and lecturer, Ad IJzerman played an active role in the International LACDR School on Medicinal Chemistry. He also chaired the medicinal chemistry division of the Royal Netherlands Chemical Society, organized many scientific symposia, and led several international research networks.

Dr Malin Lemurell (AstraZeneca, Sweden)

For her contribution to the discovery and development of several drug candidates and her leadership in medicinal chemistry. Her most recent contributions while leading a 60-strong medicinal chemistry group at AstraZeneca to deliver on pipeline projects in the Cardiovascular, Renal and Metabolism disease area across multiple modalities also includes harnessing innovation in the fields of RNA targeting with small molecules, RNA imaging with fluorescent nucleotide probes, machine learning applications in drug discovery projects and new modalities.

Prof. Gisbert Schneider (ETH Zürich, Switzerland) 

For his pioneering work integrating machine learning into medicinal chemistry, drug discovery and chemical biology. His contributions spread across the whole drug discovery process, and introduced visionary concepts for concrete applications of computational methods. These are now broadly adopted in drug discovery and recognized as robust foundations for transformative advancements in the field.

All 3 awards consist of a diploma, € 7.500 and an invitation to give a headline presentation at the EFMC International Symposium on Medicinal Chemistry.

The 2020 Awards will be presented at the XXVI EFMC "International Symposium on Medicinal Chemistry" (EFMC-ISMC 2020) to be held in Basel, Switzerland on September 6-10, 2020. 

EFMC Prizes 2020 - Laureates

The EFMC is happy to announce the names of the 2020 Prize winners.

The selection committee designated Prof. Yimon Aye (EPFL, Switzerland) as the winner of the 2020 EFMC Prize for a Young Medicinal Chemist in Academia. Prof. Andrea Ablasser (EPFL, Switzerland) and Dr Christoph Rademacher (MPICI, Germany) have been recognised as the most meritorious runners-up.

The selection committee designated Dr Giuseppe Cecere (F. Hoffmann-La-Roche, Switzerland) as the winner of the 2020 EFMC Prize for a Young Medicinal Chemist in Industry. Dr Julien Lefranc (Bayer, Germany) and Dr Anneli Nordqvist (AstraZeneca, Sweden) have been recognised as the most meritorious runners-up.

The two Prizes are given annually and consists of a diploma€ 1.000 and an invitation for a short presentation at an EFMC symposium.

The selection committee designated Dr Victor Sebastian Perez (CSIC, Spain) as the winner of the 2020 EFMC-YSN PhD Prize. Mrs Marta Serafini (Università del Piemonte Orientale, Italy) is the most meritorious runner-up.

The Prize will constist of a diploma, a free registration and a 500€ travel grant to attend an EFMC Symposium.

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. 

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.