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June 2001, Vol. 4
No. 6, pp 43, 45–46.
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Feature Article

Drug Discovery Technology 2001


The world’s drug discovery meeting place

The annual Drug Discovery Technology (DDT) Conference, the world’s largest gathering for pharmaceutical scientists and biotechnologists, will take place in Boston at the World Trade Center and Seaport Hotel August 12–17.DDT 2001 is sponsored by International Business Communications (IBC) in collaboration with Modern Drug Discovery, Science, and Drug Discovery Today. This event has grown to become the largest annual gathering and networking eventfor pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and drug discovery researchers and executives. This year, 4000 international participants are expected to visit the exhibit hall, which boasts more than 300 booths (see "Floor Plan for the DDT 2001 Meeting Exposition - A & B").

Now in its sixth year, the DDT conference combines a multitrack scientific symposium of cutting-edge presentations, plenary sessions, tutorials, short courses, and workshops with a large exhibit hall that showcases the newest technologies, instrumentation, and products that are driving the drug discovery field.

DDT 2001 features an internationally renowned speaker panel, including

  • Mark Levin, CEO of Millennium Pharmaceuticals,
  • Eric Lander, director of the Whitehead Institute/MIT Genome Sequencing Project,and
  • George M. Milne, Jr., senior vice president of Pfizer.

These individuals will give speeches highlighting integrated and interdisciplinary approaches to accelerating the drug discovery process that are used by the most successful R&D organizations in the world.

Major topics of Drug Discovery Technology 2001 include
  • Target validation
  • In silico drug discovery
  • Automation and robotics, assay development and screening miniaturization, and chip-based technologies
  • Information and data management
  • Lead discovery and optimization
  • Integrating chemical, biological, and genomic data
  • Case histories of successful drugs
  • Preclinical ADME and toxicology
  • The discovery and development interface
  • Research tool intellectual property
  • Chemistry-based approaches
  • Deal making, technology transfer, and merger/alliance case studies

As companies expand and the drug discovery marketplace becomes more competitive, success depends on integrating R&D activities and resources, as well as sharing chemical, biological, and genomic information within a company.DDT 2001 presenters will discuss the latest technologies in the context of data generated from specific drug discovery research programs, giving delegates a good feel for each technology platform as well as its concrete application. As the drug discovery environment evolves, it is also critical for companies to make smart business decisions to facilitate their discovery efforts, and some presenters will address this important area.

According to Michael Keenan, DDT 2001 conference manager and producer, “Companies hope to accelerate the pace and efficiency of drug discovery research through scientific advances, new technology applications or collaborations, and partnerships with other groups.”

“This conference—the world’s largest industry gathering for drug discovery research—provides a unique forum for the exchange of scientific advances and the making of important business contacts,” says Keenan. “The exhibit hall provides the most comprehensive view of drug discovery technologies, products, and services available, all under one roof.”

Early conference registration will take place on Sunday, August 12, along with a preconference working group titled “Negotiating and Valuing Drug Discovery Technologies”.

The conference officially kicks off on Monday, August 13, with a one-day summit on creative partnering and deal-making in drug discovery. Also featured is a preconference symposium on drug discovery informatics, cutting-edge technologies, and protein structure prediction and determination, as well as a session on genomics, proteomics, and mass spectrometry.

On Monday, Modern Drug Discovery will sponsor a poster session and exhibit hall opening reception. The exhibit hall will be open during the following hours: Monday, 4:45–7:30 p.m.; Tuesday, 9:30 a.m.–7:30 p.m.; and Wednesday, 9:30 a.m.–3:00 p.m.

Tuesday’s activities begin with presentations by two of the keynote speakers, Mark Levin and George Milne. Levin will discuss how the information in the human genome will revolutionize the practice of medicine and emerging trends from these opportunities. Milne will address new levels of drug discovery in research and development and how Pfizer is integrating synergistic technologies to advance its research and development capacity.

Other events on Tuesday include parallel sessions, technology workshops, product demonstrations, “Lunch and Learn” roundtable discussions, and, in the afternoon, oral poster presentations. An “Around the World” cocktail reception will be followed by a presentation by a “mystery speaker”.

Wednesday morning’s keynote speaker is Eric Lander. His presentation will focus on the next steps in the genomic revolution after the free availability of a draft sequence of the human genome.

Thursday begins with a drug discovery case histories plenary session, which is followed by the close of the conference.

Short courses sponsored by ACS and IBC begin on Thursday and continue until Friday. The ACS curriculum includes the following courses: Organic Chemistry of Drug Design and Drug Action; Combinatorial Chemistry: Solid and Solution Phase Synthesis; Drug Discovery Using Molecular Biology Techniques To Find Drug Targets; Pharmacology for Drug Discovery Scientists; and The Role of Toxicology in Drug Discovery. In addition, IBC will feature the following courses: Fluorescence Assay Technologies—Concepts and Applications; and Project Management—Discovering and Developing Drugs at Warp Speed.

“IBC’s Drug Discovery Technology World Congress brings together the ‘who’s who’ in drug discovery research from around the world,” says Keenan. “You will not find a more comprehensive drug discovery event anywhere in the world.”

DDT 2001 differs from previous years’ events in several ways. New conference programming has been added to address the interests ofa large number of business development, licensing, partnering, venture capital, and deal-making executives who regularly attend. Expanded scientific sessions will cover important topics that are driving the drug discovery field. New topic areas include Drug Discovery Informatics; Protein Structure Prediction and Determination; Infrastructure for the Drug Discovery Factory; Chemical Biology and New Paradigms in Medicinal Chemistry; Biochip Technologies and Microarrays; and Lead Optimization: From Hits to Leads.

A career fair has also been added for 2001; the fair offers attendees the opportunity to meet with representatives from pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies who are looking for scientists. Besides the symposia, keynote speakers, and short courses, registered attendees will have the opportunity to present scientific posters and win a $1000 prize. Researchers with new results or data are encouraged to apply.Individuals will be selected to give an oral presentation.

Several other events, galas, and short courses are planned for this once-a-year event. To register for DDT 2001, visit For further information,contact IBC USA Conferences at 1 Research Dr., Ste. 400A, Westborough, MA 01581 (508-616-5550; fax 508-616-5533).

Julie McDowell and Felicia Willis are staff editors of Modern Drug Discovery Send your comments or questions regarding this article to or the Editorial Office by fax at 202-776-8166 or by post at 1155 16th Street, NW; Washington, DC 20036.

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