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‘Discovering New Medicines’ Summit Unites Experts from UArizona Health Sciences, Pharma to Advance Research and Commercialization

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

TUCSON, Ariz. – The Arizona Center for Drug Discovery at the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy and the UArizona Cancer Center will host the second annual “Discovering New Medicines in Arizona” summit virtually via Zoom on Tuesday, Sept. 15.

Collaboration at second annual drug discovery summit aims to advance research and commercialization across UArizona Health Sciences campuses in Tucson and Phoenix. (Photo: David Mogollon/University of Arizona Health Sciences)The summit will bring together both academic drug-discovery scientists and industry professionals to highlight key areas of research seeking to discover drugs to treat diseases prevalent in Arizona and establish collaborations that enable success for future research and discoveries. Registration is required to attend.

“Drug-discovery research is critically important in today’s world and requires the cooperation of partners across multiple sectors,” explained Rick G. Schnellmann, PhD, College of Pharmacy dean and the Howard J. Schaeffer Endowed Chair in Pharmaceutical Sciences at UArizona.

“Each year, the goal of this summit is to bridge the gap between interdisciplinary university faculty experts and partners in the pharmaceutical industry to build connections that potentially could lead to groundbreaking therapies,” Dr. Schnellmann added.

Plenary speakers: Nicholas Meanwell, PhD, Bristol-Myers Squibb Research and Early Development, and Jeffrey Trent, PhD, TGen president and research directorIn recent years, the UArizona Health Sciences has been home to numerous successful drug-discovery start-ups, including DesertDx, a molecular diagnostic company; Reglagene, a company that develops medicines to fight cancer; and Regulonix, which develops non-opioid drugs to treat chronic pain.

“We are thrilled to once again participate in this highly collaborative summit,” said Joann Sweasy, PhD, the Nancy C. and Craig M. Berge Endowed Chair and UArizona Cancer Center director. “This is a unique opportunity for us to engage with industry leaders so that we can advance drug discovery in a manner that will have truly positive impacts for our cancer patients. Our goal is to ensure we are providing the best treatment options to the most patients who are battling cancer here in Arizona.”

Plenary speakers: Daniel Persky, MD, UArizona Cancer Center’s Therapeutic Development Program, and Grant McFadden, PhD, ASU Biodesign InstituteThe summit will begin with a pre-session panel featuring speakers from both the Critical Path Institute (C-Path) and the UArizona James E. Rogers College of Law. C-Path is a nonprofit based in Tucson that was established to spur development of new tools and approaches that advance medical innovation and regulatory science. UArizona Health Sciences and C-Path launched a Graduate Certificate in Regulatory Science in 2018.

Pre-session speakers, Tara Sklar, JD, MPH, professor of health law and director of Health Sciences Programs, and C-Path Biomarker Programs Officer John-Michael Sauer, PhD, will present on, “Drug Development and Regulation in the Age of Precision Medicine.” They will provide an in-depth look into how precision medicine based-therapies continue to pose challenges related to scientific discovery, diagnostic regulatory policy and the implementation of new technologies into clinical practice.

Click to register. Following the pre-session speakers, the event will move onto the plenary sessions, with a series of presentations by key industry and academic partners, including Bristol-Myers Squibb, the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) and Arizona State University.

The four topics to be addressed during the morning plenary sessions include:

The Discovery of the HIV-1 Attachment Inhibitor Fostemsavir,” chaired by Nicholas Meanwell, PhD, vice president, Discovery Chemistry Platform, Bristol-Myers Squibb Research and Early Development.

Multi-omics Approaches in Precision Cancer Care,” chaired by Jeffrey Trent, PhD, FACMG, president and research director, TGen.

Oncolytic Virotherapy at ASU,” chaired by Grant McFadden, PhD, director and professor, Biodesign Center for Immunotherapy, Vaccines and Virotherapy, ASU Biodesign Institute.

And, “University of Arizona Cancer Center: Bearing Down on Cancer,” chaired by Daniel O. Persky, MD, associate director of clinical investigations, Therapeutic Development Program, UArizona Cancer Center.

Afternoon sessions will focus on critical areas for new drug discovery, including understanding the mechanisms of aging to delay the onset of age-related disease; cancer research; airway disease; and pain.

Confirmed Speakers are:

The summit is a key component of Arizona Bioscience Week (AZBW), which includes a full week of events designed for life sciences innovators, investors and the general public. Along with the event programming, Celebrating Life & Science, a one-hour prime-time special will premiere during AZBW 2020 on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 7 p.m., AZ/MST on CW61 (or KASW Phoenix) and the AZBio YouTube channel, with a rebroadcast on Friday, Sept. 18, at midnight on ABC15, immediately following “Nightline.” 

To register and view the full agenda, visit the UArizona College of Pharmacy.

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Other versions of this article appeared originally on the UArizona College of Pharmacy, UArizona Cancer Center and UArizona Health Sciences Connect websites.

NOTE: Photos available here – https://arizona.box.com/s/wl479aw49go157kul2z6hck1jy0t8yan.

About the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy
The University of Arizona College of Pharmacy is the premier pharmacy college in the Southwest, and one of the top in the nation, focused on drug discovery, toxicology, pharmaceutics, health outcomes and sciences, pharmaceutical education and research through interprofessional training and collaborative public/private partnerships. Preparing pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists in undergraduate, professional, graduate and post-doctoral programs, the college embraces an entrepreneurial spirit, providing tailored educational opportunities to broaden students' experiences. Established 72 years ago as the first health sciences college at UArizona, the college has a long history of improving science and health, both in Arizona and around the world. It is currently ranked No. 8 among the nation’s 143 colleges of pharmacy by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. For more information: pharmacy.arizona.edu (Follow us: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube).

About the University of Arizona Cancer Center
The University of Arizona Cancer Center is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center with headquarters in Arizona. The UArizona Cancer Center is supported by NCI Cancer Center Support Grant No. CA023074. With primary locations at the University of Arizona in Tucson and at Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, the Arizona Cancer Center has more than a dozen research and education offices throughout the state, with more than 300 physicians and scientists working together to prevent and cure cancer. For more information: cancercenter.arizona.edu (Follow us: YouTube).

About the University of Arizona Health Sciences
The University of Arizona Health Sciences is the statewide leader in biomedical research and health professions training. UArizona Health Sciences includes the Colleges of Medicine (Tucson and Phoenix), Nursing, Pharmacy, and the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, with main campus locations in Tucson and the Phoenix Biomedical Campus in downtown Phoenix. From these vantage points, Health Sciences reaches across the state of Arizona, the greater Southwest and around the world to provide next-generation education, research and outreach. A major economic engine, Health Sciences employs nearly 5,000 people, has approximately 4,000 students and 900 faculty members, and garners $200 million in research grants and contracts annually. For more information: uahs.arizona.edu (Follow us: Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | LinkedIn | Instagram).

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