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Focus on drug discovery technology: Global forum for life science

This Advertising Feature has been commissioned, edited, and produced by the Science/AAAS Custom Publishing Office

The 8th Annual Drug Discovery Technology World Congress in August will provide opportunities to gain new knowledge and understanding, network with fellow professionals, and seek out career prospects.

As it has every year since 1996, the 8th Annual Drug Discovery Technology World Congress will provide a global forum for academic, governmental, and industrial executives and scientists in the life science arena. The Congress has the basic theme of permitting the anticipated 6,500 attendees to share best practices and unique strategies for accelerating the discovery of new drugs. Organizers encourage visitors to share creative ideas, learn alternative approaches, and evaluate new and emerging technologies.

The event, arranged by IBC Life Sciences with sponsorship from Science, among other organizations, will consist of a scientific conference that will run from the 10th to the 15th of August and an exhibition that will take place from the 11th to the 13th. All components of the Congress will take place at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston.

This year’s Congress will feature several new items. They include separate four-day programs on informatics issues and business issues in drug discovery, new therapeutic sessions on applications of novel drug discovery technologies to cancer and cardiovascular disease, and free presentations to visitors registered only for the exhibit hall. Organizers have also expanded the usual scientific program to run on two concurrent tracks that will cover the entire drug discovery process, and have included more panels, round table discussions, and open forum sessions than in previous years.

The event will kick off with three keynote addresses. Mitt Romney, a venture capitalist who became governor of Massachusetts in January, will assert that “Massachusetts Welcomes the Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Industries.” Robert Ruffolo, president for research and development at Wyeth Research, will focus on “R&D Productivity in the Pharmaceutical Industry: Issues and Challenges.” And Jeffrey Leiden, president and chief operating officer of Abbott Laboratories, will discuss “Better Drugs … Faster.”

To learn more about the event, check the website: or call Michael Keena at 508-616-5550, extension 288 or write to IBC Life Sciences, One Research Drive, Suite 400A, P.O. Box 5195, Westborough, MA 01581.

The event’s parallel science tracks will concentrate on advances in basic and applied science. Presentations will cover such areas as disease-associated targets for drug discovery, technologies for imaging cells, and links between genomics and chemistry. Some sessions will highlight case studies of drug discovery projects.

For the informatics track, organizers have set up three days of sessions designed to answer three key questions: How can scientists organize the mountains of data generated by new drug discovery technologies? How can they make the data available throughout large organizations? And how can research teams apply the information to effective decision making in drug discovery?

Sessions on business issues will feature experienced speakers from pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Issues will include seeking sources of financing, finding appropriate partners, evaluating opportunities for licensing, protecting intellectual property, managing alliances, and negotiating “win-win” deals.

Technology will also provide a focus at the meeting. Speakers at an afternoon panel discussion, “New Technologies for Drug Discovery: A Status Report,” will evaluate state-of-the-art technologies for drug discovery and will outline the ways in which those technologies help to accelerate drug discovery. In addition, a series of technology workshops will deal with issues as diverse as biochemical and cell-based assays, clinical genomics, high throughput synthesis and purification, and knowledge management. Further along the drug discovery pipeline, representatives of organizations that have successfully taken new drugs to the clinic will outline case histories of their efforts.

Other workshops will provide introductions to scientific, informatic, and business facets of drug discovery. On the science track, chemistry professor Mark Wentland of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute will provide an “Introduction to Drug Discovery.” James Golden of 454 Corporation and Catherine Burgess of CuraGen will cover “Pipeline Informatics: Knowledge Management for Drug Discovery.” And Stuart Kilman and Nick Palmer of Vantage Partners will team up with veteran industry executive Thomas Honohan to discuss “Alliance Management.”

Scientists and executives looking for job openings will have several chances to test the waters. The Science Career Fair will take place on August 11. Exhibiting companies will provide job postings and opportunities to drop off resumes. And representatives of those companies will willingly talk about their human resource needs, such as the growing demand for chemists and pharmacologists in pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to help deal with bottlenecks in their drug pipelines.

A former science editor of Newsweek, Peter Gwynne writes about science and technology from his base on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, U.S.A.

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