by Tamás Vermes
In september 2018, the Viro-Flow team had the chance to participate in the 25th anniversary of EFMC-ISMC International Symposium on Medicinal Chemistry in Ljubljana. With the main topic of medicinal chemistry the visitors had the chance to visit different presentations from three parallel sessions over the course of 5 days. Major topics for the sessions were: Recent technological advances and their application for medicinal chemistry, chemical biology with the focus on designing new drug candidates and therapeutic areas describing recent development on known drug targets and introducing novel target opportunities.
One of my favourite sessions was focusing on known aggregated proteins such as Tau (related to Alzheimer) and Alpha-Synuclein (Parkinson) in neurodegenerative diseases. The intra molecular flexibility of TAU made docking of compounds rather difficult. Here new small molecules were introduced which can prevent the aggregation of TAU by binding to the monomeric state of TAU.
Many more interesting topics were presented such as; New methodologies for resistance breaking antibiotic research, treatment for NAFLD (Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease), Carbohydrate based vaccines, Checkpoint antagonists for cancer therapy and Artificial intelligence in medicinal chemistry.
Three major awards were also conferred by EFMC. Professor Christa Müller won the Nauta Award on Pharmacochemistry for her excellent work in the field of adenosine and purinergic receptors. The UCB-Ehrlich Award on medicinal chemistry was taken by Professor Nelson for his outstanding work at the discovery of noval chemical space in the field of natural product like compounds. Finally, Professor Cravatt received the Prous Institute-Everton and Meyer Award for New Technologies on Drug discovery for his ground breaking work in the field of activity-based protein profiling (ABPP) technology which enables the analysis of enzymatic activities in complex systems.
Finally I was positively surprised about the investment in the fields of “Infectious diseases in developing countries” and rare diseases. It was good to see that aside from the intriguing science and the financial benefits many in the scientific community are still focusing on what is most important: To find new solutions and medicaments for those who are in need of it.