EU Lead Factory Early Career Researcher Event showcases novel ideas in Medicinal and Synthetic Chemistry in Barcelona, Spain

22 January 2016

The European Lead Factory acknowledges the need for open exchange between researchers with different professional background and puts a focus on the career development of young scientists.

Therefore the Chemistry Consortium of the European Lead Factory annually invites young talented EU Lead Factory Chemists from participating SMEs and Academic Institutions to a Learnings and Achievements meeting where they can present their scientific work, interact with their colleagues and liaise with representatives from participating EFPIA and SME partners.

For this year’s event and in response to an expressed interest within the Chemistry Community, nineteen Early Career Researchers external to the EU Lead Factory have been invited to participate, originating from 13 countries all over Europe. The meeting programme was extended to offer a workshop about the rationale of high quality library design for Drug Discovery as well as a Career Opportunity Session with representatives from academia, pharma, SME.

External participants have been selected by an external reviewer (independent from the EU Lead Factory) after sending in their own library ideas that were evaluated along the same criteria applying to scaffold submissions to the EU Lead Factory programme. They were awarded free participation in the event, reimbursement of accommodation and travel costs.

Together with 64 participants from the EU Lead Factory, researchers enjoyed a high-quality scientific agenda with 20 presentations on synthetic chemistry, a key note lecture by Professor Adam Nelson from the University of Leeds and 39 posters. The invited external young researchers had the opportunity to present their own research in form of 19 flash presentations supported by a poster session.

Synthetic chemistry constitutes a cornerstone of pharmaceutical drug discovery programmes. Senior industry representatives in the audience were impressed by the innovative library designs presented by the young scientist.

“The ideas flowing into the project from academic and SME partners enhance the quality of the Joint European Compound Library and open up new chemical space” states Dimitrios Tzalis, Head of the Chemistry Consortium. “We hope that we could show to our external scholars today the kind of opportunities that participation in the EU Lead Factory offers to young scientists. At a crucial point of their career, we want to motivate them to become a part of the project by submitting their own library ideas.”

After a successful event, a jury awarded prizes for the best poster and presentations, kindly sponsored by UCB Pharma. The winners are: James Firth (University of Leeds) for best presentation on "Synthesis of Structurally Diverse 3D Scaffolds from Simple Furans", Daniel Blanco (Radboud University) for best poster titled "Rigid Tricyclic Amino Ketones by Intramolecular Cycloaddition and Libraries Thereof" and Elena Lenci (University of Florence) for best flash presentation on "Diversity-Oriented Synthesis of Carbohydrate-derived Scaffolds".

The event continues the tradition of knowledge sharing and reciprocal education between partners of the EU Lead Factory and for the first time reached out to the larger scientific community with the intend to engage the brightest young minds in their Drug Discovery Programme.