SCI's Fibrosis Disease Symposium highlights medicinal chemistry progress

15 Dec 2015

The 1st SCI / RSC Symposium on Fibrosis Disease was hosted by UCB on Tuesday 10 November 2015 in Slough, UK. The organising committee, Richard Hatley (Co-Chairman - GlaxoSmithKline), Simon Peace (Co-Chairman - GlaxoSmithKline), Mark Healy (Novartis), Fabien Lecomte (UCB Pharma), and Mihiro Sunose (Sygnature Discovery), assembled a great event inviting speakers from many branches of fibrotic research. The day was efficiently co-ordinated by Maggi Churchouse from Maggi Churchouse Events and sponsored by UCB and Novartis. The conference delegates and audience came from disciplines of science, chemistry, medicine, biology and biochemistry amongst others; all with an interest in fibrosis. Fibrosis disease is the result of a dysregulated wound healing process and is responsible for considerable patient mortality affecting multiple organs in many disease states. An important area of medicine, fibrotic research is at the forefront of cutting edge research and drug discovery.

The day began swiftly with the first session of presentations, chaired by Luis Castro (UCB) and Richard Hatley (GlaxoSmithKline) with talks from Robert M Strieter (Novartis), Simon Peace (GlaxoSmithKline), Jonathan Foot (Pharmaxis) and Martin Griffin (Aston University). “Polypharmacy” treatment was mentioned by Robert M Strieter in the opening presentation and continued to reappear throughout the day. The mix of scientists and physicians present from diverse research backgrounds really echoed this concept. The session concluded with flash poster presentations from PhD students Lisa Miller, Frances Potjewyd, and Emma Duffy (University of Strathclyde).

The afternoon session was chaired by Tim Johnson (UCB). The first speakers in the session, Simon Macdonald (GlaxoSmithKline) and Thomas McInally (University of Nottingham), introduced a collaborative story of industry and academia in the fight against fibrosis; training the chemists of the future key pharmaceutical skills in a university environment. Presentations followed by David Abraham (University College London) focusing on scleroderma, diagnostic tagging techniques from Bevin Gangadharan (University of Oxford), and further pharmaceutical research from Cédric Szyndralewiez (Genkyotex), Uwe Grether (F Hoffmann-La Roche), and Gordon Saxty (Fidelta).

The day was summarised with closing remarks from Luis Castro (UCB) in which he praised the presenters and all involved in the organisation of the day. He recapitulated how important the day was in hope for finding treatment units for fibrosis and expressed the delegates’ optimism towards the second meeting. A drinks reception followed to mark the end of the symposium and it was clear from the conversation that the day was a success. The symposium really highlighted the progress in medicinal chemistry and drug discovery from experts across the world towards understanding and treating fibrosis disease. I would like to thank SCI for the travel bursary award I received to attend this event, and also for organising a thoroughly enjoyable and educational symposium.

Emma Duffy, PhD student, University of Strathclyde

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