27 September - 28 September 2021

What medicinal chemists need to know about biology II

Organised by:

SCI’s Young Chemists’ Panel

Online Webinar: 13:00 – 16.15 BST (consecutive afternoons)

Registration Closed

This event is no longer available for registration.


“What Medicinal Chemists Need to Know about Biology II” returns as an exciting and informative series of lectures aimed at bridging the gap between medicinal chemistry and biology. This series is designed to aid chemists in understanding the features and challenges of the biological aspects of pharmaceutical research and will focus on the in vivo aspects of drug discovery biology, including topics such as: 

Animal disease models
Toxicology in Drug Development
PK models for new modalities

Experienced speakers from leading pharmaceutical companies will deliver informative lectures with emphasis on Q&A and other interactive elements to maximise learning opportunities.

Speakers' presentations are available to registered delegates here

This conference is best suited to early career medicinal chemists and academics interested in understanding the relevant biology for the field.

Dr Alex Vugler


I graduated from Sheffield University with a degree in Pharmacology in 1995. Soon after, I joined a very busy department within UCB where I completed my MSc in Pharmacology & Toxicology, followed by my PhD. I am a Senior Principal Scientist with over 20 years of experience working on both NBE and NCE projects with a focus on inflammation and autoimmune diseases. As a Project Pharmacologist, I have been responsible for establishing numerous in vivo models, screening cascades and leading the strategy to support high priority projects as they progress towards the clinic.

Dr Beth Williamson


Beth graduated with a PhD in Pharmacology from the University of Liverpool, UK and began her career at Xenogesis, Nottingham before joining Vertex, Oxford and then leading a team in the DMPK group at Evotec, Oxford. Beth’s work has focussed on DDIs and ADME assay optimisation and validation within drug discovery, particularly to address bespoke questions. Beth has published more than 15 papers and contributed to 2 book chapters. Beth is now part of the Early Oncology, DMPK group at AstraZeneca, representing DMPK on projects throughout discovery and development.

Dr Chris Morrow


Chris has worked in different aspects of cancer drug discovery since completing his PhD in 2004. Initially working as a post-doc and assistant group leader at the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute, he focused on using targeted anti-cancer agents to better understand cancer biology. He moved to AstraZeneca in 2016 and has since worked as lead bioscientist and translational medicine lead on camizestrant (AZD9833), the next generation oral selective estrogen receptor degrader. He has been on this project since lead optimisation, an exciting ride as the drug is now in phase 3 clinical trials.

Dr Paul Walker


Paul Walker is the Head of Toxicology at Cyprotex where he is responsible for the R&D strategy, operations and study management performed within the Toxicology Group.
Paul obtained his Ph.D. from King’s College London in Molecular Toxicology and was awarded the Tadion-Rideal prize for molecular sciences (2004).
Paul joined Cyprotex in 2010 with his research interests focused on the role of drug metabolism in drug toxicity and in vitro assays to predict toxicity in early drug discovery. His team are focused on: 1. Developing and evaluating novel cellular systems to improve the prediction of toxicity. 2. Evaluate current industry utilised mechanistic endpoint assays in predicting toxicity. 3. The importance of drug metabolism and appropriate cellular models in our mechanistic understanding of toxicity. 4. Integrating in vivo exposure in interpretation of in vitro data, and 5. Modelling approaches combining ADME, PK, Omic technologies and in vitro Tox assays to predict toxicity.

Dr Sarah Skerratt


Sarah is an organic chemist by training, conducting her PhD with Professor J C Anderson at the University of Nottingham before undertaking postdoctoral studies with Professor P A Wender at Stanford University as a visiting Fulbright Scholar. Sarah began her industrial career as a medicinal chemist at Pfizer, UK and has subsequently taken on roles at Convergence and Vertex. She is an active member of the UK Chemistry community, with a long-standing interest in teaching and enabling the next generation of scientists. Sarah is currently the head of the MSD UK Chemistry at MSD’s London Discovery Centre.

Dr Simon Peace


BSc Chemistry and PhD with Jim Anderson at the University of Sheffield

Joined GlaxoWellcome in 1998 and has since led several medicines discovery programmes including identification numerous clinical candidates. Selected as a GSK Fellow in 2016

Current role is Scientific Director in the medicinal chemistry group at GlaxoSmithkline, Stevenage
Other commitments include training and sharing of science such as mentoring scientists inside and outside GSK, organising scientific conferences and events.


27 September 2021

An introduction to in vivo pharmacology in drug discovery
Dr Alex Vugler, UCB
PROTAC metabolism: do they differ from small molecules
Dr Beth Williamson, AstraZeneca
Preclinical and clinical utilisation of biomarkers in oncology drug discovery
Dr Chris Morrow, AstraZeneca
Extended Q&A
Closing Comments

28 September 2021

In vivo principles: Relating unbound drug to target engagement, pharmacodynamics and disease phenotype
Dr Simon Peace, GSK
Toxicology in Drug Development
Dr Paul Walker, Cyprotex
Tissue distribution case study: "The Discovery and Chemical Development of PF-06273340: A Potent, Selective, and Peripherally Restricted Pan-Trk Inhibitor for Pain"
Dr Sarah Skerratt, MSD
Extended Q&A
Closing Comments


Early bird until the 31 August 2021
SCI member - £115
Non-member - £170
SCI student - £40

After early bird 
SCI member - £165
Non-member - £220
SCI student - £70

Become an SCI Member and save on this and future events

See Membership Options

Sign up as an Event Member to join this event. SCI Full or Student Members receive discounts on event registrations

Booking Process/Deadlines

Booking terms and conditions


Organising Committee
  • Timothy Gorman, Evotec
  • Emma Grant, GSK
  • Jennifer Nelson, AstraZeneca
  • Adam Smalley, UCB

For further information and prices, please email conferences@soci.org


Conference Team

Tel: +44 (0)20 7598 1561

Email: conferences@soci.org