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Drug Discovery 2018 Workshop

The Society's workshops are usually suitable for Masters level and above. Basic pharmacological knowledge is expected.

08–09 Mar 2018

Abstracts deadline:

Registration deadline: 28 Feb 2018

London, UK - View map

  • Overview
  • Event programme
  • Social programme
  • Registration
  • Venue


This workshop will deliver a broad overview of the process of drug discovery, for small molecules & biologicals, and the role of pharmacology at all stages. It discusses the causes of drug attrition and the R&D approaches most commonly adopted by the industry to improve the likelihood of efficacy, safety & market approval. The course includes both presentations and two interactive breakout sessions, where presenters lead small groups of delegates through published examples of drug discovery issues.

Learning Objectives

  • To review the process of drug discovery for small molecules and biologicals, and the role of pharmacology at all stages

  • To understand the causes of drug attrition and the R&D approaches most commonly adopted by the industry to improve the likelihood of efficacy, safety and market approval

  • To understand the value inflexion points within the drug discovery process and some of the approaches and business models and that are in place to deliver drugs to man.

Speaker biographies

Keith Bowers: Dr Keith Bowers is Head of Biology of Mironid Ltd, a start-up company based in Scotland that discovers and develops modulators of PDE4 enzymes to treat chronic kidney disease, inflammation and cancer. Prior to that worked as a preclinical consultant at Oracle Biosciences, where he was part of a team assessing opportunities for in-licensing programs for a European drug company.  Keith also has experience in business development for a Glasgow and US-based biological services company. Prior to this Keith held the position of Head of Biosciences at AstraZeneca, Respiratory & Inflammation where he oversaw delivery of both preclinical and early development support programmes. He has held positions of project leadership, portfolio management and gatekeeper for project transitions. With 25 years’ experience as an industrial pharmacologist, managing groups from HTS, target validation, lead identification and optimisation and biomarker/translational medicine, Keith is passionate about the application of high quality science to support business needs. He lives in the countryside of Scotland with his wife and two children.

Caroline Phillips: Dr Caroline Phillips is currently Head of Biology within Redx Oncology.  Redx Pharma is a small biotech based in Cheshire that discovers and develops small molecules for oncology and fibrosis. Prior to this Caroline worked for a number of large Pharma companies including AstraZeneca, Pfizer and GSK.  Caroline has over 20 years’ experience in all areas of drug discovery and early clinical development.  She has worked from target validation to proof of principle testing in phase 1 studies, across a broad range of disease areas including oncology, respiratory, rheumatoid arthritis, urology and sex health.. She has held both line management and project leadership positions.  Caroline trained as a Pharmacologist at The University of Glasgow and continues to be passionate about the use of quantitative pharmacology to help progress drugs from preclinical testing into patients.

Bob Humphries: Bob has a 32 year career in the Pharmaceutical industry with Fisons, Astra then AstraZeneca as a pharmacologist, scientific team leader and cross functional project team leader. He led the discovery project teams responsible for the discovery and early progression of the anti-thrombotic (P2Y12 antagonists) compounds BRILINTA and cangrelor -medicines that have, and will, save patients' lives. He was awarded the CEO’s award for leading the BRILINTA Discovery Project in 2010 and also featured in R&D Directions Most Notable People in R&D in 2009 for the BRILINTA story.From 2006 onwards, he has led the cross functional project team responsible for the early development programmes for the AZ bronchodilator and GR agonist projects. Then from March 2011, based in Mölndal, Sweden as VP Inhaled Projects in the AZ Respiratory & Inflammation iMed. In this role, in addition to maintaining project delivery, also responsible for overall strategic aspects of Inhaled Projects, including revision of the Disease Target Product Profiles for COPD. Since leaving AstraZeneca in April 2012, have started the consultancy "VisionRealisation Ltd" with the ambition of applying the mantra of "Vision - Belief- Momentum" to help other project teams translate ideas into credible, achievable plans and realise potential opportunities to change patients' lives. This has involved working with clients to develop strategies, target profiles and development plans for respiratory, inflammation, oncology and scar prevention projects and detailed pharmacology/clinical pharmacology input to the NDA and MAA filings for cangrelor. I have also been involved in multiple Due Diligence exercises, with a focus on the PK/PD profile, translational integrity, and differentiation story for assets under consideration. Bob is also the founding member of the Inhalation R&D Consultancy, Adhale, which was established December 2013. Director at OncoTherics Ltd and Non-Executive Director, Platelet Solutions Ltd


Jane Escott: Jane Escott is an Associate Director in the Scientific Partnering & Alliances group within AstraZeneca leading several ‘Open innovation’ initiatives, as well as being the Alliance manager for the MRC ‘Asset Sharing’ initiative. Jane has a BSc and PhD in Pharmacology from King’s College, London and over 15 years of R&D experience in the pharmaceutical industry.  As a Team leader within AstraZeneca, Jane has progressed compounds from preclinical to early clinical development in a number of disease areas including respiratory, inflammatory and oncology. More recently, Jane has championed the repositioning of deprioritized compounds into new disease indications through the generation of novel biology within internal project teams and through external collaborations with disease experts.


Andrew Leishman: Andrew Leishman Ph.D., Director With over 15 years in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry Andrew has led projects seeking to deliver therapies targeting components of the immune system.  He has worked for various small, medium, and large companies and helped deliver agents that are undergoing clinical trials across several therapy areas.  Andrew has a strong understanding of the research and development process for small compound, biological, RNA, and cellular approaches which spans target identification/validation, candidate drug delivery, to pharmacology/translational medicine support for clinical trials.  With a friendly and professional approach, Andrew has demonstrated ability to work with collaborators across the globe to deliver customer needs.

Workshop dinner:

A workshop dinner for speakers and delegates will be held on Thursday 8th March 2018. This is an excellent opportunity to meet and network with both the speakers and other delegates in an informal setting.

Dinner cost: £25

Clerkenwell Grind
2-4 Old Street

Registration is now closed. For more information please contact

Shelter Room Hire
4 Garrett Street

Travel Instructions:

From London Liverpool Street take the Route Bus 205 (Stop: F) towards Paddington or Route Bus 135 (Stop: F) towards Old Street Station. Exit at Stop E – Old Street Roundabout.

From London Bridge take the Route Bus 141 (Stop C) towards Palmers Green, North Circular Road or Route Bus 43 (Stop C) towards Friern Barnet. Exit at Stop E – Old Street Roundabout.

From Old Street tube station take the Barbican exit from Subway 3 (the Yellow one). This is signposted for Old Street West – South Side, Whitecross Street and the Barbican Centre. Walk approximately 500m along Old Street staying on the left hand side of the road. Turn left onto Golden Lane, after approximately 75m you will see the Shelter building on the left at the junction of Garrett Street and Golden Lane.

From Barbican tube station walk East along Beech Street, then turn left onto Golden Lane. Shelter Training is at the junction of Garrett Street and Golden Lane.


This is not recommended as Shelter Training is within the congestion zone and there are no parking facilities available.

Tourist Information
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British Pharmacological Society on-site contact details
Laura Neville - Education & Training Manager
Mobile: +44 (0) 7789 076273