The field of targeted protein degradation has exploded — degraders like PROTACs and Molecular Glues are more and more prevalent in drug discovery pipelines, and newer modalities like AUTOTACs and LYTACs have the potential to work on an even broader range of “undruggable” targets. This trend is expected to continue in 2024, as established degraders get closer to the clinic and newer modalities are explored.
Attending dedicated targeted protein degradation conferences and tracks is a great way to keep up with this rapidly evolving field. You’ll hear the latest advances directly from CEOs, VPs, Directors, and senior scientists, and have plenty of opportunities to network and share your experiences with new assays and technologies like artificial intelligence.
Here are 8 conferences you’ll want to attend:
January 30 – February 1, Boston USA
Now in its 2nd year, this conference is dedicated exclusively to molecular glue degraders. Industry and academic experts provide a deep dive into the tools helping to create the next generation of molecular glues. Additionally, there will be a pre-conference workshop on the hurdles commonly encountered when designing molecular glue degraders and how to best address them.
- Rational glue screening and biochemical optimization
- Artificial intelligence for forward prediction of discovery
- Expanding the gluable E3 ligase landscape
March 19-21, London, UK
For the 4th year running, this event gathers key biopharma leaders and TPD experts from across the globe to dive into the technical and mechanistic aspects of early discovery and preclinical development. This meeting also offers 3 workshops covering E3 ligase/ligand binding, computational methods, and extracellular assay development.
- Strategies for assessing safety and addressing selectivity/toxicity
- Computational methods to maximize degrader discovery
- Novel modalities like HDACs, lysosomal degraders, and intramolecular bivalent glues
April 1-4, San Diego, USA
Drug Discovery Chemistry focuses on the early discovery of small molecule modalities, and 2 tracks are dedicated to TPD. These tracks bring together experts to discuss important issues underlying the use of targeted protein degraders as a new modality.
- Novel covalent chemistries and new methods for inducing proximity
- Challenges with specificity, stability, biodistribution, and penetration
- AI in drug discovery, covalent binders, fragment-based drug discovery, small molecule immunomodulators, and more
May 7-9, Boston, USA
Targeted protein degradation relies on E3 ligase to remove disease-causing proteins — yet discovering, validating, and utilizing novel ligases poses unique challenges. This conference unites pharma, biotech, and academia to harness E3 ligases more effectively. There will be 3 workshops to choose from: E3 ligase inhibition, exploiting electrophilic ligands, and integrating computational approaches into ligase discovery.
- Ligase-ligand screening and biophysical characterization
- Identifying unexploited ligases for cell and tissue-specific degradation or modulation
- Validation of new degraders/modulators and assaying therapeutic efficacy
Date TBA, July, Boston
This industry-dedicated forum brings together leaders in biopharma and academia to advance heterobifunctional drug discovery. The focus is on new and emerging modalities beyond just degradation, but also stabilization, phosphorylation, and chromatin modification. The agenda for 2024 is not yet published, but based on 2023’s agenda anticipate an expert-led workshop and the following topics.
- Accelerating hit discovery and uncovering protein-protein interactions
- AI-led drug discovery and high throughput screening assays
- Moving forward emerging modalities by leveraging existing TPD strategies
6. Discovery on Target – PROTACs and Molecular Glues Tracks
Date TBA, October, Boston, USA
Discovery on Target gathers scientists building therapeutics ranging from biologics to small molecules. While the agenda is not yet finalized, expect two tracks dedicated to TPD that will focus on new technologies being used in the discovery and validation of novel degraders.
- Emerging assays and screening technologies for new ligases and neosubstrates, including the use of AI
- Using covalent chemistries and optimizing new monovalent and bivalent heterobifunctional degraders
- Small molecules targeting cancers and RNAs, antibodies against membrane proteins, lead generation strategies, and more
Date and location TBA, October, Boston
A director at GSK calls this conference, “…THE go-to-meeting to disclose novel findings and clinical data in the TPD field.” With an all-encompassing agenda, this is a great place to learn not only about PROTACs and glues, but also AbTACs, DUBTACs, AUTOTACs, and other new modalities. This year’s schedule is not yet posted, but 2023’s agenda indicates there will be multiple focused workshops and the following discussions.
- An end-to-end overview of the TPD field, including new modalities and the route to clinical approval
- Leveraging biomarkers to guide the clinical success of novel degraders
- Strategies for Target ID, hit validation, and lead optimization
Date and location TBA
As the name suggests, this meeting focuses on the development and screening side of TPD. Technologies and assay development strategies such as Cryo-EM, DEL screening, and AI-led drug discovery are all discussed to support in-house assay development. Expect a pre-conference workshop and the following topics to be discussed.
- Novel high throughput and rational assays for identifying lesser-known E3 ligases
- Approaches for characterizing ternary complex formation
- Biophysical, proteomic, and cell-based assays