• Biochemical Pharmacology Discussion Group

    The Biochemical Pharmacology Discussion Group represents a diverse group of scientists from pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and university and medical research centers interested in biochemistry, molecular biology, biomedical research, and related areas. The group brings together diverse institutions and communities, industrial and academic, to share new and relevant information at the frontiers of research and development. The group also serves as the Biochemical Topical Group for the American Chemical Society's New York Chapter.

  • Upcoming Events

    Tuesday, March 24, 2015 | 11:45 AM - 4:00 PM

    Positive Allosteric Modulators for Challenging GPCRs: Identification and Optimization

    Speakers: P. Jeffrey Conn (Vanderbilt University), Ron Dror (Stanford University), Christopher Fotsch (Amgen), Corey Hopkins (Vanderbilt University), Whitney Nolte (Pfizer)

    In this symposium, academic and industry scientists will describe the identification, characterization, and development of PAMs for challenging GPCRs.

    Tuesday, April 7, 2015 | 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM

    Cytokine-Based Immunotherapies

    Keynote Speaker: James W. Mier (Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/ Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA)
    Speakers: Stephen D. Gillies (Provenance Biopharmaceuticals, Carlisle, MA), Jerome Ritz (Harvard Medical School), Gilles Uzé (Université Montpellier II, Montpellier, France), K. Dane Wittrup (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA)

    Systemic toxicity currently prevents exploiting the potential of many cytokines to treat cancer, viral infections, inflammatory and autoimmune conditions. Targeted delivery of immune-stimulatory or immune-regulatory cytokines offers much promise.

    Tuesday, May 26, 2015 | 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM

    Quantitative Systems Pharmacology: Progress Towards Integration into Drug Discovery and Development

    Speakers: Richard Allen (Pfizer), John Burke (Applied BioMath), Nitin Mehrotra (US Food and Drug Administration), Tim Rolph (Pfizer), Vikram Sinha (US Food and Drug Administration), Peter Sorger (Harvard Medical School), Paul Watkins (Hamner-UNC Institute for Drug Safety Sciences)

    Quantitative Systems Pharmacology (QSP) has been used successfully in drug discovery and development, yet lacks industry-wide adoption. This symposium highlights past successes and future challenges of using QSP in preclinical and clinical research.

  • Past Events

    Tuesday, February 24, 2015 | 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM

    Harnessing the Potential of Genome Editing for Drug Discovery: Translational Frontiers of in vitro and in vivo Applications

    Speakers: Chad Cowan (Harvard University), James Inglese (National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, NIH), J. Keith Joung (Massachusetts General Hospital), Randall Platt (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Yi Yang (Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research), Lei (Stanley) Qi (University of California San Francisco)

    The emergence of genome editing technologies such as TALEN and CRISPR/Cas9 are revolutionizing our ability to rapidly engineer mammalian systems. This symposium explores the frontiers of genome editing and potential to aid therapeutic development.

    Tuesday, December 9, 2014 | 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

    Diabetic Kidney Disease: Drug Discovery and Clinical Development Challenges

    Speakers: Matthew D. Breyer (Eli Lilly and Company), Frank C. Brosius (University of Michigan Medical School), Benjamin D. Humphreys (Brigham and Women's Hospital), Matthias Meier (F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd), Shahnaz Shahinfar (S. Shahinfar Consulting, Inc. and The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia), Katalin Susztak (University of Pennsylvania), Aliza Thompson (Food and Drug Administration)

    Identifying and prosecuting drug targets is challenging due to a poor understanding of pathogenesis and few biomarkers. This symposium identifies targets for preventive or therapeutic interventions and discusses challenges in clinical development.

    Tuesday, October 28, 2014 | 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM

    Pharmacologic Resolution of Inflammation as a Novel Therapeutic Approach

    Speaker: Michael S. Conte (University of California-San Francisco), Milan Fiala (David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA), Gabrielle Fredman (Columbia University), Bruce Levy (Harvard University, Brigham and Women's Hospital), Dipak Panigrahy (Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School), Mauro Perretti (Queen Mary University of London), Charles N. Serhan (Brigham & Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School), Patricia J. Sime (University of Rochester School of Medicine), Rudolph E. Tanzi (Massachusetts General Hospital)

    Uncontrolled, chronic inflammation plays a key role in the progression of many diseases, and elucidation of biochemical pathways provides novel targets. This symposium reviews discoveries, approaches and opportunities for treatment and prevention.

    Tuesday, September 30, 2014 | 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM

    Elucidating GPCR Functional Selectivity: Novel Opportunities for Drug Development

    Keynote Speaker: Nobel Laureate Robert J. Lefkowitz (Duke University Medical Center)
    Speakers: John A. Allen (Pfizer), Laura Bohn (The Scripps Research Institute - Florida), Marc G. Caron (Duke University Medical Center), Jonathan A. Javitch (Columbia University and New York State Psychiatric Institute), Terry Kenakin (University of North Carolina School of Medicine), Bryan L. Roth (University of North Carolina School of Medicine), JoAnn Trejo (University of California, San Diego), Jonathan D. Violin (Trevena Inc.)

    Hear academic, industry, basic and translational researchers, including Nobel Laureate Robert Lefkowitz (Duke University Medical Center) and discuss the development of functionally selective GPCR-biased ligands for CV and CNS disease drug discovery.

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014 | 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM

    Hot Technologies for Developing Next-Gen Biologics

    Speakers: Timothy Charlebois (Pfizer), David King (AnaptysBio Inc.), William M. Pardridge (Brain Research Institute, UCLA), Steven J. Projan (MedImmune), Sachdev Siddhu (University of Toronto), E. Sally Ward (UT Southwestern), Patrick C. Wilson (The University of Chicago), K. Dane Wittrup (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

    New technologies are pivotal in developing next-generation biologics. This symposium highlights novel technologies in the discovery of new biologics, elucidating in vivo mechanisms of therapeutic proteins, and manufacturing and delivery processes.

    Tuesday, April 8, 2014 | 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM

    Translational Neuroscience in Psychiatry: Light at the End of the Tunnel

    Speakers: Dan V. Iosifescu (Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai), Daniel C. Javitt (Columbia University and Nathan Kline Institute), John H. Krystal (Yale University), Andrew F. Leuchter (University of California, Los Angeles), Gregory Light (University of California, San Diego), Siva Digavalli (Bristol-Myers Squibb), Eva Redei (Northwestern University), Steven J. Siegel (University of Pennsylvania)

    Recent breakthrough insights from clinical studies are illuminating the neurobiology of psychiatric disorders. This symposium explores differences in sensory processing, imaging, and other biomarkers that may translate findings to animal models.

    Tuesday, March 25, 2014 | 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM

    Lung Cancer: Advances in Current Treatment Modalities and Patient Classification

    Speakers: Rolf Brekken (UT Southwestern), Jessica S. Donington (NYU Langone Medical Center), Balazs Halmos (Columbia University Medical Center), Roy S. Herbst (Yale School of Medicine), Suresh S. Ramalingam (Emory University)

    Recent treatment advances may improve lung cancer patient survival rates, as understanding genetic heterogeneity can improve trial patient selection. Hear updates on common mutations, intraoperative chemotherapy, and insights from clinical trials.

    Tuesday, February 18, 2014 | 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM

    Strategies to Inhibit Graft-Versus-Host Disease While Sparing the Graft-Versus-Tumor Response: Finding the Sweet Spot

    Speakers: John DiPersio (Washington University School of Medicine), William R. Drobyski (Medical College of Wisconsin), James Ferrara (University of Michigan), David L. Porter, MD, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Robert J. Soiffer (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute), Megan Sykes (Columbia University), Marcel RM van den Brink (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center)

    Mechanisms that cause graft-versus-host disease (GvHD), a major cause of mortality after stem cell transplants, must be inhibited while preserving the graft-versus-tumor (GvT) response. Explore recent advances in separating GvHD from GvT effects.

    Tuesday, January 28, 2014 | 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM

    Antibody-Drug Conjugates: An Emerging Modality for the Treatment of Cancer

    Speakers: Nahor Haddish-Berhane (Pfizer), Sara Hurvitz (UCLA Medical Center), Omar Kabbarah (Genentech Inc.), Peter D. Senter (Seattle Genetics, Inc.), Dhaval K. Shah (The State University of New York at Buffalo), Stacey S. Shord (Food and Drug Administration), Melissa M. Schutten (Genentech Inc.), and Puja Sapra (Pfizer), Alan Wahl (Ambrx)

    Antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) promise safer, more effective therapies than standard anti-cancer drugs. This symposium highlights linker-payload and coupling chemistries, ADC development, biomarker and patient selection, and regulatory perspectives.

    Tuesday, December 10, 2013 | 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM

    A Truce in the BAP-tist/Tau-ist War? Progress Toward A Unified Understanding of Alzheimer's Disease

    Speakers: Frank M. LaFerla (University of California, Irvine), Sylvain E. Lesné (University of Minnesota), Bingwei Lu (Stanford University School of Medicine), Lennart Mucke (Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease), Ralph A. Nixon (Nathan Kline Institute), Franck Polleux (Columbia University), Terrence Town (University of Southern California), Tony Wyss-Coray (Stanford University School of Medicine)
    Organizers: Ken Jones (Forest Research Institute), Robert Martone (Covance Biomarker Center of Excellence), Robert B. Nelson (Lundbeck Research USA), Jennifer Henry (The New York Academy of Sciences)

    This symposium explores how efforts to better integrate our understanding of neuritic plaques and neurofibrillary tangles—the two hallmark pathologies of Alzheimer's disease—are leading to a 'truce' between former rivals in the quest for therapies.

    Tuesday, October 22, 2013 | 8:15 AM - 5:00 PM

    Fibrosis: Therapeutic Target or Inevitable Outcome?

    Speakers: Yasmina Bauer (Actelion Pharmaceuticals Ltd), Jeremy S. Duffield (University of Washington), Raghu Kalluri (The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center), Marco Prunotto (F. Hoffmann-La Roche), Kumar Sharma (University of California, San Diego), Richard M. Silver (Medical University of South Carolina), Dianqing (Dan) Wu (Yale University), Eric S. White (University of Michigan Medical School)

    Fibrosis is common in chronic organ injury, leading to progressive life-threatening outcomes. We review the link between fibrosis and disease and explore ways to use biomarkers and imaging to translate laboratory results into clinical success.

    Friday, October 4, 2013 | 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

    The Microbiome in Health, Disease, and Therapeutics: Bugs, Guts and Drugs

    Speakers: David Artis (University of Pennsylvania), Stephen M. Collins (McMaster University), Michael A. Fischbach (University of California, San Francisco), Dirk Gevers (The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard), Jeremy K. Nicholson (Imperial College London), Lita M. Proctor (National Human Genome Research Institute, NIH), Nilufer Seth (Pfizer Global Research and Development)

    Symbioses between humans and our gut microbiome influence human biology including nutrition, immune function, and brain development. We review how symbiotic relationships impact drug metabolism and development, and a variety of disease states. This symposium features a poster session.

    Tuesday, September 24, 2013 | 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM

    Harnessing New Players in Atherosclerosis to Treat Heart Disease

    Speakers: Karin Bornfeldt (University of Washington School of Medicine), Elena V. Galkina (Eastern Virginia Medical School), Emmanuel L. Gautier (Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis), Klaus Ley (La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology), Andrew H. Lichtman (Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School), Kathryn J. Moore (New York University Medical Center), Matthias Nahrendorf (Harvard Medical School), Alan R. Tall (Columbia University Medical Center)

    Currently available therapies fail to resolve the full burden of many cardiovascular diseases. Understanding the role of key hematopoietic and inflammatory players in this disease process may help identify new targets for fighting atherosclerosis.

    Friday, May 24, 2013 | 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM

    Targeting Epigenetic Regulators for Cancer Therapy

    Speakers: Scott A. Armstrong (Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center), Stephen Baylin (The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine), Robert A. Copeland (Epizyme, Inc.), Vicki L. Goodman (GlaxoSmithKline), Haitao Li (Tsinghua University, China), X. Shirley Liu (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute), Robert Sims (Constellation Pharmaceuticals, Inc.), Alexander Tarakhovsky (The Rockefeller University)

    Epigenetic research has shown that heritable changes in cancer cell transformation occur beyond the primary DNA sequence. This symposium reviews epigenetic regulators in cancer development and progress in designing therapies targeting the epigenome.

    Tuesday, April 23, 2013 | 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM

    Targeting Insulin Resistance for the Treatment of Alzheimer's Disease: From Laboratory to the Clinic

    Speakers: Suzanne M. de la Monte (Brown University), William H. Frey II (Alzheimer's Research Center, Regions Hospital, St. Paul, MN), José A. Luchsinger (Columbia University Medical Center), Mark P. Mattson (National Institute on Aging, NIH), Ewan C. McNay (University at Albany, SUNY), Konrad Talbot (University of Pennsylvania)
    Organizers: Mercedes Beyna (Pfizer Global Research and Development), Cathleen Gonzales (Pfizer Global Research and Development), Barbara Petrack (Drew University), Jennifer Henry (The New York Academy of Sciences)

    Insulin resistance and dysregulated insulin signaling are observed in brains of Alzheimer's patients. Current diabetes drugs that improve cognition and brain insulin signaling in rodents are in clinical trials for mild cognitive impairment and AD.

    Monday, March 25, 2013 | 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM

    Treatment-Resistant Depression: Glutamate, Stress-Hormones and their Role in the Regeneration of Neurons

    Organizers: Robert Martone (Covance Biomarker Center of Excellence), Harald Murck (Covance Neuroscience Medical and Scientific Services), Jennifer Henry (The New York Academy of Sciences)
    Speakers: Ron Duman (Yale University), Guosong Liu (Tsinghua University, China), Jorge Quiroz (Roche), Simone Sartori (University of Innsbruck, Austria), Carlos Zarate (National Institute of Mental Health, NIH)

    Major depression is a devastating illness; current therapies based upon monoamine neurotransmitters are beneficial for only one in ten patients. This program reviews a paradigm shift in treatment targeting the glutamatergic neurotransmitter system.

    Tuesday, January 22, 2013 | 8:30 AM - 5:30 PM

    T Cells at the Interface of Immune-CNS Cross-Talk

    Organizers: Joshua F. Apgar (Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals), Henry Kao (Lundbeck Research USA), Anthony Slavin (Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals), Roland Staal (Lundbeck Research USA), Jennifer Henry (The New York Academy of Sciences)
    Speakers: Stanley H. Appel (Methodist Neurological Institute), Britta Engelhardt (Universität Bern, Switzerland), Karl Frei (University Hospital Zurich, Switzerland), Howard E. Gendelman (University of Nebraska Medical Center), Christopher A. Hunter (University of Pennsylvania), Michal Schwartz (Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel), Lawrence Steinman (Stanford University), Kevin J. Tracey (Feinstein Institute of Medical Research)

    Though no longer regarded as immune-privileged, the role of T cells in the CNS is still not well understood. Experts will discuss the role of T cells in CNS diseases with high unmet medical need, and offer clues to potential intervention.

    Tuesday, December 11, 2012 | 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM

    Systems Biology Approaches to Drug Discovery: Single Gene Targeting is Not Enough

    Speakers: Albert-László Barabási (Northeastern University), Alessandra Cesano (Nodality), Joel Dudley (Mt Sinai School of Medicine), Manuel Duval (Enumeral Biomedical Corp.), Greg Findlay (Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute), Alison O'Mahony (Bioseek, a division of DiscoveRx)

    The most pressing unmet medical needs correspond to complex diseases caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. This symposium discusses the use of biological assays that feature multiple target approaches during the primary discovery steps.

    Tuesday, October 23, 2012 | 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM

    The New Age of Antibody Therapeutics

    Organizers: Robert Martone (Covance Biomarker Center of Excellence), Heather Shih (Pfizer External Research Solutions), Mohammad Tabrizi (Merck Research Laboratory), Jennifer Henry, PhD, The New York Academy of Sciences
    Speakers: Anthony Coyle (Pfizer), David Hilbert (Zyngenia), Serge Muyldermans (Vrijie Universiteit Brussel, Belgium), Carl Nathan (Weill Cornell Medical College), Mohammad Tabrizi (Merck Research Laboratory), K. Dane Wittrup (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Anna Wu (University of California, Los Angeles)

    There are many monoclonal antibody therapeutics on the market, and myriad development candidates. We review the application of cutting-edge technologies to the development of next-generation antibody therapeutics and address translational challenges.

    Tuesday, September 25, 2012 | 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM

    Autophagy as a Therapeutic Target in Multiple Diseases: From Molecular Mechanisms to Drug Discovery

    Organizers: Zdenek Berger (Pfizer), Mercedes Beyna (Pfizer), Warren Hirst (Pfizer), Jennifer Henry (The New York Academy of Sciences)
    Speakers: Zdenek Berger (Pfizer), Ana Maria Cuervo (Albert Einstein College of Medicine), Daniel J. Klionsky (University of Michigan), Beth Levine (University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center), Ralph A. Nixon (Nathan Kline Institute), Eileen P. White (Rutgers University), Richard J. Youle (NINDS), Zhenyu Yue (Mount Sinai School of Medicine)

    Autophagy is a route for degradation of aggregated cellular proteins and dysfunctional organelles. This symposium reviews molecular mechanisms of impairment, and discusses drug discovery strategies for modulating autophagy for therapeutic benefits.

  • Steering Committee

    Lynn M. Abell, PhD

    Bristol-Myers Squibb

    Magdalena Alonso-Galicia, PhD
    Ildiko Antal, PhD

    Bristol-Myers Squibb

    Joshua Apgar, PhD

    Applied BioMath

    Mercedes Beyna, MS


    Ruth Duffy, PhD

    Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc.

    Thomas Franke, MD, PhD

    NYU Langone Medical Center

    Steven Gross, PhD

    Weill Cornell Medical College

    John Hambor, PhD


    Julia Heinrich, PhD

    Bristol-Myers Squibb

    Huiping Jiang, PhD

    Boehringer Ingelheim

    Kenneth Jones, PhD


    Katalin Kauser, MD, PhD, DSc

    Bayer Healthcare

    Scott MacDonnell, PhD

    Boehringer Ingelheim

    Charles Lunn, PhD

    Drew University

    Robert Martone

    St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

    Marco Prunotto, PhD

    Hoffmann-La Roche

    JoAnne Saye, PhD

    AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP

    Roland Staal, PhD

    Lundbeck Research USA

    W. Ross Tracey, PhD

    Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research

    George Zavoico, PhD

    MLV & Co.


  • Sponsors

    The Biochemical Pharmacology Discussion Group is proudly supported by:

    • Boehringer Ingelheim
    • Merck
    • Pfizer
    • WilmerHale

    Mission Partner support for the Frontiers of Science program provided by

    Get more information about how you can sponsor a discussion group.