Free Webinar | Novel Drug Modalities & Integrated Platforms to Transform R&D Productivity

RECORDED July 16, 2020 | 2:00-3:00 pm EDT

Chairperson: Mitja-Alexander Linss, Director of Marketing at Research Solutions, Reprints Desk

Unquestionably, pharma/biotech R&D innovation is advancing at an incredible pace, and driving waves of new therapeutics to tackle diseases once considered intractable. Novel drug modalities (especially those beyond small molecules) and integrated platforms (across disciplines) are emerging across the pharma/biotech spectrum. They include biologics and synthetic molecules of varying shapes and sizes. Super-diverse library screening, structure-based drug design and evolving concepts in disease target and/or pathway mechanisms are accelerating the generation of novel drug modalities. Collectively, the integration of such platforms are transforming R&D productivity. This webinar is focused on providing a timely opportunity to share both “real-time” experience and vision of future trajectories in pharma/biotech R&D with knowledgeable and seasoned leaders –– Dr. Jay Bradner (panelist), President, Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, Dr. Anabella Villalobos (panelist), Senior Vice-President, Biotherapeutics & Medicinal Sciences, Biogen, and Tomi Sawyer (moderator), Chief Drug Hunter, Maestro Therapeutics.

  • Reflections on integrating novel drug modalities: what has been required and did it reshape the R&D modus operandi?
  • Future perspectives on winning drug modality strategies: what are your predictions for the next 3-5 years?
  • COVID-19 impact on pharma/biotech R&D: what may be the short- and long-term impact?

Tomi K Sawyer, PhD, President & Chief Drug Hunter, Maestro Therapeutics, Individual Consultant

James (Jay) Bradner, MD, President of the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR)
Anabella Villalobos, PhD, Senior Vice-President, Biotherapeutics and Medicinal Sciences Biogen

Speaker Biographies:

James (Jay) Bradner, MD
President of the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR)

James (Jay) Bradner, MD, has been President of the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR) since 2016. He is a member of the Executive Committee of Novartis.

From 2005 to 2015, Dr. Bradner served as an attending physician in stem cell transplantation within the Department of Medical Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in the United States. He was an associate professor within the Department of Medicine at Harvard Medical School in the US from 2014 to 2016, and an assistant professor there from 2010 to 2014. He has co-founded five biotechnology companies and has co-authored more than 200 scientific publications and 30 US patent applications.

Dr. Bradner received his doctor of medicine from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine in the US, and his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Harvard University. He completed his residency in medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital, his fellowship in medical oncology and hematology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and his postdoctoral training in chemistry and chemical biology at Harvard University. He has received many honorific awards and was elected into the American Society for Clinical Investigation in 2011 and the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society in 2013. He serves as Chairman of the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation in the US.

Anabella Villalobos, PhD
Senior Vice-President, Biotherapeutics and Medicinal Sciences, Biogen

Anabella is currently the head of Biotherapeutics and Medicinal Sciences (BTMS) at Biogen, Cambridge, Massachusetts. BTMS is responsible for the delivery of high-quality, differentiated drug candidates that make it through the clinic to become transformative medicines. BTMS also drives new scientific directions and capabilities across therapeutic modalities to enable and advance Biogen’s portfolio. BTMS is made up of 7 key functions to accomplish these goals: Medicinal Chemistry (small molecules), Biologics Drug Discovery (protein therapeutics), Gene Therapy Accelerator Unit (gene therapy therapeutics), Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics (drug disposition and PK/PD modeling), Physical Biochemistry (structural biology and biophysics), Bioassays and High-Throughput Screens (assay development, phenotypic screens), and Chemical Biology and Proteomics (target identification, selectivity, and engagement).

Prior to joining Biogen, Anabella was at Pfizer for 28 years where she was Vice-President of Medicinal Synthesis Technologies and Neuroscience Medicinal Chemistry. As the leader of several medicinal chemistry groups throughout her career at Pfizer, Anabella’s teams delivered >30 candidates which showed increased survival to the clinic. Among Anabella’s accomplishments are her contributions to the design and discovery of CP-118,954 (icopezil), an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor, which was advanced to Phase II clinical trials in Alzheimer’s disease. This candidate became part of the agreement that led to the successful co-promotion of Aricept by Pfizer and Eisai. Anabella championed new scientific directions that have changed design practices in medicinal chemistry such as the Central Nervous System Multi-Parameter Optimization (CNS MPO) design tool and a novel PET ligand design and discovery approach. Anabella has also had extensive experience in leading multi-disciplinary teams that have advanced candidates through pre-clinical development and into the clinic, including Phase I and II studies.

Anabella obtained her B.S. in Chemistry at the University of Panama and her Ph.D. in Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Kansas where she was a Fulbright-Hayes fellow. She was a National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Fellow at Yale University in synthetic organic chemistry for 2 years.

Tomi K Sawyer, PhD
President & Chief Drug Hunter, Maestro Therapeutics, Individual Consultant

Tomi is Founding Chief Drug Hunter and President of Maestro Therapeutics, an emerging R&D enterprise dedicated to transforming and accelerating peptide modality therapeutics. Most recently, Tomi was a Distinguished Scientist, Global Chemistry at Merck & Company where he led a Peptide Drug Hunter Network. Prior to joining Merck & Company in 2014, Tomi was the Founding Chief Scientific Officer at Aileron Therapeutics from 2007 to 2013 and Senior Vice-President of Drug Discovery at Ariad Pharmaceuticals (recently acquired by Takeda for $5.2B) from 1997 to 2006. He is credited with building a stapled peptide technology platform at Aileron Therapeutics as well as driving a $1.1B strategic R&D collaboration with Roche Pharma. He is a peptide, peptidomimetic, de novo nonpeptide, small molecule and natural product drug hunter and has contributed to the discovery of three marketed drugs (Scenesse®, Iclusig® and Ridaforolimus), a Phase II clinical candidate (ALRN-6924) and preclinical development of renin inhibitors (U-71038 and U-84700), HIV protease inhibitors (U-81749 and PD-107067), Src SH2 antagonists (AP21774 and AP22408) and dual Src/Bcr-Abl kinase inhibitor (AP23464). Tomi is credited with >600 scientific publications, patents, and presentations. He holds Adjunct Professorship and Scientific Advisory Board appointments at the University of Massachusetts, the University of Arizona and Northeastern University Center for Drug Discovery.

Mitja-Alexander Linss
Director of Marketing at Research Solutions, Reprints Desk

Mitja Alexander Linss is Director of Marketing at Research Solutions, and its wholly owned subsidiary Reprints Desk, a SaaS company and one of the world’s leading providers of 24/7 on-demand access to scientific literature. Mitja has a 20-year track record in technology marketing, including 7 years in the information services industry. He held senior marketing roles at Fortune 500 companies and start-up firms, such as Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) and IHS Markit. Mitja started his career in IT security at RSA Security, a world leader in secure authentication and encryption. Mitja holds a Master of Science in political science, economics and business administration from Johannes Gutenberg Universtät in Mainz, Germany and is fluent in German, English and French.