The 7th Annual Drug Repositioning, Repurposing and Rescue Conference - Student (Chicago, United States - June 26-27, 2018)

  • ID: 4496892
  • Conference
  • Location: Chicago, United States
  • 2 Days
  • Arrowhead Publishers
  • Conference Dates: June 26-27, 2018
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The 7th Annual Drug Repositioning, Repurposing and Rescue Conference in Chicago, is where attendees will meet and learn from the world’s foremost experts in the fields of repositioning and repurposing.

Why Attend
As the Single Longest-Running Conference in the Space, this annual event continues to be the “go to” meeting for pharma executives, academicians, researchers and patient advocacy groups who want to keep abreast of new developments in the field, learn from experts and meet possible collaborators and partners. The agenda incorporates Case Studies, Genetics/Genomics, new Cutting-Edge Technology (including artificial intelligence), Regulatory Guidance, Big Data Approaches, New Drug Discovery Paradigms, Partnering Models, Crowdsourcing Methods and repurposing projects for Rare/Orphan Diseases, Tropical Diseases, Cancer and many other diseases and conditions.

About the Field of Repositioning
Drug repositioning has emerged as a cost-effective and quicker alternative to traditional drug discovery and development. Both approved drugs and those that have proven safe in Phase I/II trials save vast amounts of clinical development time and money. By mining existing drugs for new uses, researchers can focus instead on latter stage clinical trials.

Key Themes

Emphasis on and engagement with patient advocacy groups, who are investing in drug repositioning efforts to an unprecedented degree

The conference will explore how new partnerships between various groups, including government, industry and academia are teaming up to advance repurposing efforts

Leaders in drug repositioning will discuss their successes, failures and the way forward

Government/Academic/Industry Collaborations will be explored and highlighted in order to determine how disparate groups can achieve success

Repurposing is no longer based on serendipity as more and more companies are designing tools to streamline and increase the odds of success
More About Drug Repositioning, Repurposing and Rescue   
Drug repositioning has emerged as a potentially cost-effective and quicker alternative to provide new drugs for pharmaceutical companies’ waning pipelines. Approved drugs have already met with the FDA’s approval therefore, the early stages of drug development can be bypassed. By mining existing drugs for new uses, researchers can focus instead on the clinical testing portion of the process. This shortens the development timeline and gets new treatments to patients faster. With new technologies and approaches, drug repositioning has become more streamlined and less accidental than it was in the past. By using a more systematic approach, existing compounds are being tested for both common and neglected diseases faster and with more success.

Who Should Attend   


  • Pharmaceutical Companies
  • Contract Research Organizations
  • Specialist Repositioning Companies
  • Government/Regulatory Bodies
  • Mid Cap/SME Biotechs
  • Academic/Research Institutes
  • NGOs/Public Health
  • Patient Advocacy Organizations

VPs, Directors, Managers & Associates in the Following Areas:

  • Research & Development
  •  Indication Expansion
  •  Business Development
  •  Drug Discovery
  •  Medical Affairs
  •  Scientific Affairs
  •  Clinical Development
  •  Product Development
  •  Chemistry
  •  Informatics
  •  Translational Biology
  •  Toxicology
  •  Portfolio Management
  •  Commercialization
  •  Drug Repositioning
  •  Drug Repurposing
  •  Asset Management
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Day 1:

7:45 am Continental Breakfast/Registration

8:30 am The Drug Repurposing Hub: A Community Resource for Indication Discovery
A longstanding obstacle to drug repurposing is the lack of a comprehensive library of clinical compounds suitable for testing. To address this challenge, we developed the Drug Repurposing Hub, a hand-curated physical and online collection of more than 5,000 compounds. This talk will describe the development of this new resource and current efforts to test drugs across multiple cellular assays.
Steven Corsello, MD, Postdoctoral Fellow, Broad Institute, Instructor in Medicine, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

9:00 am Leveraging Human Genetics to Repurpose Drugs: Lessons Learned
Last year Dr. Lavieri presented an overview of how we are using the data housed within BioVU, a DNA biobank linked to a de-identified version of Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s electronic health record system, to generate hypotheses for drug repurposing projects. This year, he will share information on the four phase II studies their team is launching this year, and he also will also share lessons learned from several projects that did not advance to clinical development.
Robert R. Lavieri, Ph.D., Project Manager, Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

9:30 am Repositioning is Easy - Or Is It? The impact of AI on Future Progress
There are several easy and quick and cheap ways to do repositioning. They generate results of variable quality and confidence, as the compromise for being quick/easy/cheap. Big healthcare data has the potential to help do repositioning very well, but not all approaches, including different AIs, are the same. Examples of matching the right repositioning problem with the right AI solution will be shared, including Biovista's Project Prodigy AI.
Aris Persidis, Ph.D., President, Biovista

10:00 am Refreshment Break

10:30 am Presentation to be Announced

11:00 am Using Artificial Intelligence to Identify Potential Drug Repurposing Opportunities
BenevolentBio is focused on AI technology in the bioscience industries. The initial focus has been on human health – generating new ideas that have the potential to improve the lives of millions and deliver better medicines to patients faster in currently overlooked areas such as orphan diseases and rare cancers. We apply our AI to radically improve the efficiency of drug development, produce better target selection, optimize compounds and draw previously impossible insights from hundreds of millions of associations between biologically meaningful entities and unstructured text. We have developed a significant pipeline of drug candidate programs ranging from early-stage discovery assets to Phase IIb clinical development assets and are working with major pharmaceutical groups to license compounds and develop drugs. We also work closely with charities and other funders, especially in rare disease areas.
Bryn Williams Jones, Director of Exploratory Research, Benevolent AI

11:30 am Systematic Drug (Re)Purposing by Triangulating Insights from Unstructured and Structured Data Using Machine Learning
Through a case study, Qrativ (joint venture between Mayo Clinic and nference) will describe how its software platform can be used to extract and triangulate insights from unstructured data (e.g. text...) and structured data (e.g. genome sequencing, real world evidence...) in order to systematically identify drug (re)purposing opportunities.
Agustin J. Lopez Marquez, Vice President, Business Development and Marketing, nference, Qrativ

12:00 pm Luncheon

1:00 pm Panel Session to be Announced Soon

1:45 pm The Power of Passion: How a Cancer Not-for-Profit has Moved the Needle for the Treatment of Blood Cancers
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) was founded in 1949 with the goal of curing leukemia.  Today, with annual revenues of $400 million, LLS has been instrumental in developing some of the most innovative cancer treatments in history, including targeted therapies like the tyrosine kinase inhibitors and CAR-T cell immunotherapy.  This talk will describe the research funding approaches utilized by LLS, its investment in both academic and private sector research – including efforts in drug repurposing - and the results obtained.
Lou DeGennaro, Ph.D., President & CEO, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society

2:15 pm From Toenail Fungus to Leukemia to Bladder Cancer – Overcoming Drug Development Obstacles to Bring a Promising New Treatment to Patients
Scott J. Weir, Pharm.D., Ph.D., Director, Institute for Advancing Medical Innovation, Associate Director, Translational Research, University of Kansas Cancer Center, Professor, Department of Pharmacology, Toxicology & Therapeutics, University of Kansas Medical Center

2:45 pm Nutraceuticals as Repositioning Agents: Rapid Acceleration from Bench to Clinical Trial
Nutraceuticals or dietary supplements are regulated compounds with demonstrated bioactivity. Leveraging existing government regulations and data highlighting safety and efficacy, nutraceuticals can be repurposed for several clinical indications. This talk will focus on strategies to rapidly move nutraceuticals from bench to bedside and will discuss how a novel avocado-derived lipid was quickly moved into a Phase I trail.
Paul Spagnuolo, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Food Science, University of Guelph

3:15 pm Refreshment Break

3:45 pm Presentation to be Announced Soon
Matt DeSilva, Founder and CEO, Notable Labs

4:15 pm Application of In Silico Proteome Screening to Discover a Drug’s Polypharmacology to Facilitate Drug Repurposing
In this presentation, Dr. Shahani will discuss the following:

  •  Polypharmacology and its importance in drug discovery and particularly drug repositioning
  •  Technical overview of Cyclica’s in silico Proteome Screening approach and the data it generates
  •  Data from repurposing study of FDA approved drugs for treatment of Systemic scleroderma
  •  Additional data from separate study exploring the repurposing of an anti-clotting agent for treatment of cancer in combination with statin drugs

Vijay Shahani, Ph.D., Senior Solution Scientist, CyclicaRx

4:45 pm End of Day's Sessions

Day 2:

8:00 am Continental Breakfast

8:30 am A Systems Biology Driven Repositioning Strategy Identifies Digoxin for Treating Groups 3 and 4 Medulloblastoma
Medulloblastoma is the most common malignant brain tumor of childhood, treatments are sorely needed both to improve survival and reduce treatment related complications. Its sub-types, Groups 3 and 4, an unmet medical need, represent a particular challenge due to their intra-group heterogeneity, which limits the options for "rational" targeted therapies. We report a systems biology driven strategy that combines data from multiple genomic and epigenomic sources to construct novel driver signaling networks to accelerate the discovery of new treatments for cancers. From over 1,300 known drug candidates studied, we identified five members of the cardiac glycoside family potentially inhibit the growth of Groups 3 and 4 medulloblastoma, and subsequently confirmed digoxin, one of the five cardiac glycosides, with in vitro and in vivo studies.
Stephen Wong, Ph.D., P.E., Chief Research Information Officer and Professor and Chair, Department of Systems Medicine and Bioengineering, Houston Methodist

9:00 am A Systems Medicine Approach to Drug Repurposing
The REPO-TRIAL investigates an unconventional strategy to improve the efficacy and precision of drug repurposing trials. Instead of applying classical disease definitions based on symptoms or organs, REPO-TRIAL uses a systems medicine based in-silico approach that identifies mechanistically related disease phenotypes and, as a result, a virtual patient cohort. Research animal use will be kept to a minimum by applying a preclinical randomised confirmatory trial (pRCTs) concept, preclinical systematic reviews, and meta-analyses facilitated by our open access platform. Selected results will be validated via high precision clinical trials in patients with cerebro-cardiovascular phenotypes stratified using an exclusive mechanistic biomarker panel. We thus innovate two biomedical product classes, drugs and diagnostics. REPO-TRIAL commenced in February 2018, and will conclude in January 2023.
Hermann Mucke, Ph.D., Principal, H.M. Pharma Consultancy

9:30 am Big Data-based Drug Repurposing Strategy: Special Focus on Brain Ischemia
In this presentation, Dr. Casas will present her team's innovative in-silico based approach to improve the efficacy and precision of drug repurposing trials. This systems medicine-based in-silico approach identifies mechanistically related disease phenotypes followed by later validation of this in-silico drug repurposing approach via pre-clinical experimentation and clinical trials. Their approach has been validated in one of the highest prevalence unmet medical needs, brain ischemia. Surprisingly, her team finds that sGC, an hitherto exclusive cardiovascular target, is closely linked to neurological disorders, an application that has so far not been explored clinically. Indeed, we repurposed apo-sGC activators for ischemic stroke suggesting this drug class as a possible first-in-class neuroprotective therapy for stroke.
Ana Casas Guijarro, Ph.D., Department of Pharmacology and Personalised Medicine, Maastricht University

10:00 am Refreshment Break

10:30 am Repurposing Low-dose Methotrexate for the Treatment of Myeloproliferative Disease
We have previously found that low doses of the generic rheumatology drug methotrexate acts as a JAK/STAT pathway inhibitor. As such, MTX potentially represents a low cost treatment for diseases caused by over activation of the JAK/STAT pathway such as the myelproliferative blood cancers polycythemia vera and essential thrombocytosis. However, moving from preclinical and case study data to human clinical trials has proven to be far more difficult than originally imagined - even for the repurposing of a safe, low cost and widely available drug such as MTX. We have now partnered with a blood cancer charity to gain access to clinical trials unit expertise and a generics drug manufacturer to obtain orphan drug designation for this disease / drug combination. My talk will describe the scientific background to this story and will detail the hurdles we have faced, the solutions we have found and the prospects for repurposing success we anticipate.
Martin Zeidler, Ph.D., Reader, Cellular Signaling, Department of Biomedical Science, The University of Sheffield

11:00 am Expanding the Impact of Repurposing Research
Repurposing research is a growing and critical part of therapy discovery. Repurposing research can quickly provide affordable "new" therapies, with comparably lower research costs. Many repurposing research successes are patient driven and/or physician discovered, and new bioinformatics, phenotypic screening and global information sharing are further driving purposeful repurposing research opportunities. Cures Within Reach and our many industry, academic, philanthropic, clinical and advocacy partners are leading this Repurposing Research Revolution, and together we are developing new financial and collaborative initiatives to continue this growth. This presentation will focus on the future of repurposing research and how every stakeholder group must play a role.
Dr. Bruce Bloom, President & Chief Science Officer, Cures Within Reach
Clare Thibodeaux, Ph.D., Director of Scientific Affairs, Cures Within Reach

11:35 am Open Innovation - A Driver for Drug Repositioning
In this presentation, Dr. Hayes will discuss the rational for repositioning. He will also delve into the various features of AstraZeneca's Open Innovation program which supports repositioning efforts. Lastly, he will discuss ongoing internal and collaborative case studies.
David Hayes, Ph.D., Director, Translational Research Science, AstraZeneca

12:05 pm Luncheon

1:05 pm Presentation to be Announced Soon

1:35 pm The Application of Cognitive Tools to Accelerate Drug Repurposing for Parkinson’s Disease
Currently no disease-modifying compounds exist for Parkinson’s disease, and drug repurposing offers the promise of finding a safe cure faster. The Watson team rank ordered over 600 drug candidates for likelihood of treating Parkinson’s disease based on their ability to reduce the aggregation and/or toxicity of the protein alpha-synuclein. The team then generated & evaluated hypotheses by providing rationale for the links between top drug candidates, alpha-synuclein, and Parkinson’s disease. This enabled the start of lab validation efforts to evaluate drugs for repurposing for L-Dopa-induced dyskinesia.
W. Scott Spangler, Chief Data Scientist, Distinguished Engineer, IBM Watson Health

2:05 pm Multi-orthogonal Disruptive Integration (MODI) to Teach Old Drugs New Tricks
New cancer drug discovery is hampered by the persistent increase in failure rates caused by; lack of innovation, redundant targets and approaches, me too products, poor bioavailability, poor safety, limited efficacy, lengthy clinical trials and a daunting regulatory approval process costing nearly $2 billion. OncoStemyx has developed a rapid and safe multi-orthogonal disruptive integration platform that empirically identifies drug combinations for the treatment of many cancers. The application of this platform are limitless such as diabetes, heart disease, neurological disorders, age related diseases and many more. In the era of reducing prescription drug costs, innovative repositioning will precede all new drug development. This talk will outline the path to successfully reposition drugs, approval process, funding challenges, and advocacy.
Vikash Jaganath Bhagwandin, Ph.D., Founder and CEO, OncoStemyx

2:35 pm Presentation to be Announced Soon

3:05 pm End of Conference

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Conference Chairs

Dr. Bruce Bloom
President & Chief Science Officer
Cures Within Reach

Aris Persidis, Ph.D.

Speaking Faculty

David Hayes, Ph.D.
Director, Translational Research Science

Bryn Williams Jones
Director of Exploratory Research
Benevolent AI

Vikash Jaganath Bhagwandin, Ph.D.
Founder and CEO

Stephen Wong, Ph.D.
Chair and Professor, Systems Medicine
Houston Methodist

Clare Thibodeaux, Ph.D.
Director of Scientific Affairs
Cures Within Reach

Robert Lavieri, Ph.D.
Project Manager, Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research
Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Hermann Mucke, Ph.D.
H.M. Pharma Consultancy

Paul Spagnuolo, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Food Science
University of Guelph

Steven Corsello, MD
Postdoctoral Fellow, Broad Institute
Instructor in Medicine, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Ana Casas Guijarro, Ph.D.
Department of Pharmacology and Personalised Medicine
Maastricht University

Agustin J. Lopez Marquez
Vice President, Business Development and Marketing
nference, Qrativ

Matt DeSilva
Founder and CEO
Notable Labs

Lou DeGennaro, Ph.D.
President and CEO
The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society

Vijay Shahani, Ph.D.
Senior Solution Scientist

Martin Zeidler, Ph.D.
Reader, Cellular Signaling, Department of Biomedical Science
University of Sheffield

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Wyndham Grand Chicago Riverfront
71 East Upper Wacker Drive
IL 60601
United States


This upscale hotel is an 11-minute walk from Millennium Park and outdoor theater, and a 12-minute walk from the high-end shops and restaurants of the Magnificent Mile.

The elegant rooms with hardwood accents have free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs, plus minifridges and coffeemakers. Upgraded rooms feature downtown or river views, while suites add separate living areas with pull-out sofas, wet bars and/or soaking tubs. In-room dining and massages are available for a fee.

Amenities include an American restaurant with a bar, plus a fitness center and a hot tub. There’s also a business center and conference facilities. Pets are accepted with a fee.

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