CeMM: Austrodrugs 2

The Austrodrugs Initiative was started in 2011 with the aim of bringing together the Austrian community of academic chemical biologists and industrial drug discoverers. To strengthen and expand this community and shape future European public-private initiatives in the area, Giulio Superti-Furga and Stefan Kubicek organized the second Austrodrugs get-together on March 19, 2012 at CeMM.

The meeting started with 10-minute “speed-dating” presentations, giving new members of the community the opportunity to present their expertise and resources. Highlights were presentations by Sebastian Nijman, Giulio Superti-Furga and Veronika Sexl on the recent high-impact impact chemical biology publications coming out of CeMM and the Platform Austria for Chemical Biology PLACEBO. Renate Schnitzer, as Head of Screening at Boehriger Ingelheim Vienna arguably the industrial high-throughput biology expert in Austria, gave an excellent presentation on research and technological focus of the company.  On the academic side, Steffen Hering then presented his research on GABA receptors and valerenic acid and introduced the doctoral program "Molecular Drug Targets" to educate the next generation of Austrian chemical biologists. Finally, a presentation by Georg Casari on the start-up Haplogen and its focus on haploid cells for experimental human genetics in a test tube and by Verena Hilger on screening reagents available from Perkin Elmer concluded the first part of the meeting.

Following a coffee break, a workshop co-organized with Ylva Huber (FFG) and Hemma Bauer (bmwf) highlighted the opportunities emerging in the 5th call of the Innovative Medicines Initiative for a “European Lead Factory”. After an intense discussion of the opportunities and challenges of this initiative, possibilities for future interaction and collaboration were brought up in a networking session.

Most Austrodrugs participants then stayed on for the first SMART lecture, when Norbert Bischofberger (Gilead Sciences) shared his extensive experiences in drug development for infectious diseases and a fascinating and inspiring talk.

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