PDT Summit

Uncovering the Translational Potential of Protein Degradation

November 14, 2018 | Boston, MA


Key Features of PDT Summit

Curated Learning Journey

Travel from the known to the unknown and the simple to the complex through a carefully constructed end-to-end learning experience.


Discover how leading organizations are overcoming key translational challenges as protein degrading therapeutics accelerate through the pre-clinic and into the clinic.

Pioneering Speaker Faculty

Hear from and meet the gurus of the field and the most exciting newcomers from biotech, academia and pharma.

Critical Discussions

Deep-dive into the crucial challenges facing the industry through this discussion-led agenda with panels, breakout workshops and open Q&A.

Senior, Intimate Networking

Meet and indulge in high-quality discussions in this intimate setting with senior decision-makers from pharma, biotech and academia.


Impactful Day

We know you’re busy people. That’s why the exclusive PDT Summit is purposely constructed as a one-day feast of inspiring learning with a jam-packed agenda and pioneering speaker faculty.

Expert Speaker Faculty

Jim Winkler

Drug Discovery and Development Consultant, James D Winkler LLC, Consulting

Jim has spent over 35 years in drug discovery and development. He is currently a Drug Discovery and Development Consultant, consulting for several companies. Previously, Jim was VP of Discovery and Translational Biology at FORMA Therapeutics, a company focused on protein homeostasis. Prior to joining Forma, Jim was the Chief Scientific Officer at Arvinas, focused on targeted degrader technology, moving PROTACs from concept to drugs. Prior to Arvinas, Jim worked at public companies of various size: Johnson & Johnson, GlaxoSmithKline, and Array BioPharma. While working for these companies, he gained extensive experience building and leading teams, working from target validation and early drug discovery through to translational medicine and clinical development. This work has resulted in an impressive record of accomplishment, moving over 20 drugs into development, helping patients in need by delivering novel therapies.

Nathanael Gray

Professor of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School

Nathanael Gray is a Professor of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at Harvard Medical School and Cancer Biology at Dana Farber. His research utilizes the tools of synthetic chemistry, protein biochemistry, and cancer biology to discover and validate new strategies for the inhibition of anti-cancer targets. Dr. Gray’s research has had broad impact in the areas of kinase inhibitor design and in circumventing drug resistance. Dr. Gray received his PhD in organic chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley in 1999 after receiving his BS degree with the highest honor award from the same institution in 1995.

Sandra Glucksmann

President & CEO, Cedilla Therapeutics

Sandra Glucksmann is a veteran biopharma executive and experienced scientist who most recently served as founder and chief operating officer of the gene editing company Editas Medicine, Inc. She previously served as senior vice president of research and development at Cerulean Pharma, which she also joined at its founding. Sandra was a founding scientist at Millennium Pharmaceuticals, where she spent 13 years, taking on a series of senior roles on the science team before moving into an executive position with responsibility for strategic program management and operations. Sandra serves on the boards of directors of gene therapy company REGENXBIO, Women in the Enterprise of Science and Technology and Scenic Biotech. Sandra holds a Ph.D. with honors in molecular genetics and cell biology from the University of Chicago. She was a post doctoral fellow at MIT.

Larry Hamann

VP, Chemistry, Celgene

Larry Hamann is currently Vice President and Global Head of Chemistry at Celgene, with responsibility for Medicinal and Computational Chemistry, Biochemistry, Structural and Chemical Biology and Screening. He has over 25 years of drug discovery experience and has led or overseen teams responsible for more than 14 clinical stage compounds. At Celgene, his teams have advanced a number of molecules into development for hematologic malignancies and autoimmune diseases.

Prior to Celgene, Larry was Executive Director, Global Discovery Chemistry at Novartis, working to progress drug discovery programs.Previously, Larry was at Bristol-Myers Squibb, where he led drug discovery teams in metabolic and musculoskeletal disease, and virology. Larry began his career at Ligand Pharmaceuticals, focusing on nuclear receptor based therapeutics. Larry is co-inventor on > 70 patents and co-author on > 75 scientific publications, and serves on the NIH Study Section for Synthetic and Biological Chemistry.

In August of 2017, Larry was awarded the American Chemical Society’s Heroes of Chemistry Award for contributions to the discovery of the combination of the pioneering hepatitis C virus (HCV) NS5A inhibitor, Daklinza® (daclatasvir), and the acylsulfonamide-containing HCV NS3 protease inhibitor, Sunvepra™ (asunaprevir), which together demonstrated for the first time that HCV infection could be cured with only orally administered direct-acting antiviral agents. Larry holds a BS in Chemistry from the University of Detroit and a PhD in Organic Chemistry from the University of Michigan.

Eric Fischer

Assistant Professor of BCMP, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Eric Fischer, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at Harvard Medical School and a Principal Investigator in the Department of Cancer Biology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. His research focuses on understanding the complex mechanisms that underlie signaling through the ubiquitin proteasome system, and function and regulation of multi-component ubiquitin ligases and their role in disease. Leveraging the in depth understanding for therapeutic intervention through novel small molecule modalities is a second focus of his research, and has significantly contributed to our understanding of small molecule mediated protein degradation. Dr. Fischer has been recognized for his pioneering work on the structure of cereblon and the mechanism of action of thalidomide.

Paola Castaldi

Associate Director, Head of Chemical Biology, AstraZeneca

Paola Castaldi is the global Head of Chemical Biology at AstraZeneca. Her team is focused on supporting drug discovery programs across all therapeutics areas using state of the art technologies with specific emphasis on target identification and validation, target engagement, and off-target determination. Since 2015, Paola has played a critical role to establish a therapeutic protein degradation platform at AstraZeneca providing both strategic and logistics directions. Before AstraZeneca, Paola was a key contributor of the Chemical Genetics group at Sanofi Oncology, Cambridge, MA with a focus on phenotypic drug discovery projects for the Wnt and KRAS oncogenic pathways. Prior to Sanofi Paola was at Makoto Life Sciences, where she was responsible for the chemistry strategies towards the identification of the PRPK/TPRKB complex as validated biological targets of immunomodulatory drugs that include lenalidomide (Revlimid), pomalidomide (Pomalyst) and thalidomide implicated in multiple myeloma. Paola Castaldi completed her undergraduate studies in pharmaceutical chemistry and received her Laurea (MSc) at University of Padova, Italy. She then went on to conduct graduate research studies at Imperial College London, UK and postdoctoral studies at UCSD and Boston University.

Michael Kim

Vice President, Business Development, C4 Therapeutics

Michael joined C4 Therapeutics in August of 2017 as Vice President, Business Development. Most recently, Michael was in the Business Development group at ARIAD Pharmaceuticals where he was responsible for partnering activities in addition to portfolio strategy and alliance management. Michael started his business career as a strategy consultant with Leerink Swann and Company, and progressed to Corporate Strategy and Business Development roles of increasing responsibility at Alkermes, Vertex Pharmaceuticals and FORUM Pharmaceuticals. He received his post-doctoral training as an NIH NRSA Fellow at Harvard Medical School and holds a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Rochester.

Nello Mainolfi

Founder and CTO, Kymera Therapeutics

Before founding Kymera Therapeutics, Nello was head of drug discovery at Raze Therapeutics where he helped develop first in class molecules against novel cancer metabolism targets with implications in both oncology and immuno-metabolism. Nello started his drug discovery career in the global discovery chemistry group at the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, where he contributed and in most cases led teams to the identification of more than 10 compounds that have entered preclinical and clinical development across a series of disease areas. Notably first in class small molecules inhibitors of several complement proteins for inflammation and ocular diseases. While at Novartis he also championed new technologies such as using fragment-based drug discovery as a core strategy to deliver multiple development candidates. Nello has authored >40 papers and patents and has written reviews in the areas of medicinal chemistry and drug discovery. Nello was trained at Imperial College, University of London and The Scripps Research Institute in California.

Gillian Watt

Gillian Watt, Director of Pharmacology, Protein Degradation, GSK

Gillian Watt is currently Director of Pharmacology within the Protein Degradation DPU at GlaxoSmithKline. Prior to joining GSK in December 2016, I worked at UCB Pharma for 15 years and before that at James Black Foundation. I have worked across several therapeutic areas and across all stages of preclinical drug discovery. I have a B.Sc.(Hons) in Pharmacology (University of Aberdeen) and a Ph.D. in Analytical Pharmacology (University of London).

Yusuke Tominari


Yusuke holds a PhD in Chemistry from department of pharmaceutical sciences at The University of Tokyo (2006). He has twelve years of industry experience with thirteen patent filings and two out-licensed programs in Pharma (2006-2018, Takeda). He is CEO/CSO of FIMECS, Inc. from 2018. His expertise is medicinal chemistry in immunology, oncology and immuno-oncology areas, natural product synthesis and chemical biology (bifunctional molecules, photo-affinity labeling probes, cleavable linkers).

John Houston

CEO, Arvinas

Dr. Houston is the President and Chief Executive Officer. Previously he was the SVP of Specialty Discovery at Bristol Myers Squibb. He spent over 18 years at BMS in roles of increasing responsibility and had accountability for all Discovery Biology disease teams as well as various Discovery technology departments and was site head of the BMS Connecticut facility. He was a member of the BMS R&D Executive Leadership team and chaired the Target Portfolio Committee which had governance oversight in the discovery space. With his teams, and his research colleagues, he progressed over 200 compounds into early development, several of which advanced into late stage clinical trials and beyond.

He was also the principal architect and driver of the ‘Leveraging Technology’ initiative at BMS which oversaw the design and implementation of an industry leading integrated lead discovery and optimization process. This initiative created revolutionary changes in the discovery process at BMS with significant improvements in capacity, speed and cost control resulting in marked increases in research productivity and success rates.

John has over 28 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry and prior to joining Bristol-Myers Squibb, Dr. Houston worked at Glaxo Welcome Research and Development in the UK, where he served as head of the Lead Discovery Unit.

Dr Houston obtained his B.Sc degree in Medical Microbiology from Glasgow University and obtained his Ph.D. with Professor Brian Catley in Microbial Biochemistry from Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. John also completed post-doctoral studies on an MRC grant with Professor Julia Douglas at Glasgow University.

Scott Edmondson

Director and Boston Head of Oncology Chemistry, AstraZeneca

Scott D. Edmondson received his Bachelor degree in chemistry from Cornell University in 1991. He earned his Ph.D. from The Ohio State University in 1996 wth Prof. Leo Paquette and then moved on Columbia University to an NIH postdoctoral fellowship with Professor Samuel Danishefsky. He joined the Department of Medicinal Chemistry at Merck in Rahway, New Jersey in 1998. At Merck, Dr. Edmondson worked on projects in the early discovery space (target validation, lead identification) through late stage discovery and beyond. He contributed to a broad range of therapeutic areas including obesity, diabetes, urology, cardiovascular diseases, and virology.

Scott is a co-inventor of sitagliptin used to treat type 2 diabetics and he led the β3-adrenergic receptor agonist program through the discovery of vibegron, currently in Phase 3 for the treatment of overactive bladder. Currently, Dr. Edmondson is the Director of Chemistry at AstraZeneca’s Oncology IMED group in Boston, Massachussetts. He leads a team of chemists that execute on drug discovery programs in oncology from target validation through candidate discovery. Outside of work, Scott is active in the external scientific community through conferences, book chapter writing/editing, and through recruiting efforts especially with his alma maters. Dr. Edmondson has co-authored more than 40 publications in peer-reviewed journals, 5 book chapters, and over 45 patents/patent applications.

Behnam Nabet

Research Fellow, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Behnam Nabet, Ph.D. is a postdoctoral research fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Nathanael Gray at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and is supported by an American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellowship. Dr. Nabet received his B.A. in Biology from the University of Pennsylvania and his Ph.D. in Cancer Biology from Northwestern University. In his postdoctoral research, Dr. Nabet developed a generalizable technology platform known as the dTAG system to rapidly degrade any target protein of interest. The dTAG system pairs potent small molecule degraders and extensible tagging strategies to achieve selective degradation of divergent proteins. This technology facilitates biological exploration and drug target validation in cells and animal models.

Yue Xiong

Professor & Co-Founder, Cullgen Inc.

Dr. Xiong finished his undergraduate at Fudan University in 1982 and Ph.D from University of Rochester in 1989. After completing a Ph.D. Postdoctoral fellowship at Cold Spring Harbor Lab, from 1993 up to now, Dr. Xiong joined Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a William R. Kenan Professor. He was awarded Pew Scholar Award (1995), American Cancer Society Junior Faculty Research Award (1995), AACR-Gertrude B. Elion Cancer Research Awards (1999), UNC Hettleman Award for Scholarly Achievement (1999), UNC Battle Distinguished Cancer Research Award (2011), Elected Fellow, American Association for Advancement of Science (2012). To date, Dr. Xiong has published more than 160 research papers in peer-reviewed publication and granted two US patents.

Kristin Riching

Senior Research Scientist, Promega Corporation

Kristin received her PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. She joined Promega in 2014 as a postdoctoral researcher, and is currently a Senior Scientist developing technologies to characterize degradation and protein interactions within the ubiquitin proteasomal pathway in living cells.

Philip Chamberlain

Senior Director, Structural & Chemical Biology, Celgene

Phil Chamberlain obtained his BA and D.Phil. degrees from the University of Oxford before traveling to the U.S. to perform his post-doctoral work at the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation (GNF) in San Diego. Phil joined Celgene, San Diego in 2007 and leads the Structural and Chemical Biology department which provides structural, biochemical and cellular data in support of drug discovery projects. Phil is known for his work in understanding and extending the action of cereblon modulators, and has published work in this area in journals including Nature and Nature Structural and Molecular Biology.

Summit Agenda

Click to download our full event agenda.

8:00    Registration, Breakfast & Networking
9:00    Chair’s Opening Remarks & Setting the Scene

Jim Winkler, Drug Discovery and Development Consultant, James D Winkler LLC, Consulting 

9:10  Presentation: Targeting the Ubiquitin-Proteasome System

Eric Fischer, Assistant Professor of BCMP, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

9:35 Case Study: Characterizing Degradation Kinetics and Cellular Mechanisms of PROTAC Compounds

Kristin Riching, Senior Research Scientist, Promega Corporation

9:55   Keynote Panel and Open Q&A: Scientific Pioneer’s – From Basic Research to A New Class of Blockbuster Drugs?

Nathanael Gray, Professor of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School
Larry Hamann, Vice President, Chemistry, Celgene
Eric Fischer,
Assistant Professor of BCMP, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

10:40    Morning Refreshments & Networking
Breaking Convention: Carving Out New Rules For Drug Discovery, Design & Development

Interactive Workshop Sessions

During these intimate breakout sessions, attendees will get the chance to freely discuss some of the key chemical challenges involved when developing and producing PROTACs and other methods of targeted protein degradation techniques. These workshops will allow you to get the answers to your burning questions in a way not possible through panels and presentations. These workshops are repeated to ensure you get the maximum value out from these important sessions and takes away the difficult decision of choosing between them. You are spoilt for choice!

11:20    Repeated Workshops A:
Workshop 1A
PROTAC Design –  How To Go From Tools To Drugs & Methods of Ligand Discovery

Yusuke Tominari,  Chief Executive Officer, FIMECS Inc.

Workshop 2A
E3 Ligase Targeting, Functionality & Application

Paola Castaldi, Associate Director, Head of Chemical Biology, AstraZeneca

12:05   Repeated Workshops B: Time to switch! 
Workshop 1B
PROTAC Design –  How To Go From Tools To Drugs & Methods of Ligand Discovery

Yusuke Tominari,  Chief Executive Officer, FIMECS Inc.

Workshop 2B
E3 Ligase Targeting, Functionality & Application

Paola Castaldi, Associate Director, Head of Chemical Biology, AstraZeneca

12:50    Networking Lunch
1:50   Presentation: What can we Learn from Viral Hijacking of the Cullin-RING Ubiquitin Ligases (CRLs) for the Design of Degraders?

Yue Xiong, Professor & Co-Founder, Cullgen Inc.

2:20   Presentation: Expanding the Horizons of Cereblon Neosubstrate Activity

Philip Chamberlain, Senior Director, Structural & Chemical Biology, Celgene

From Bench to Clinic: Translating Promising Science into Clinical Development

Protein Degradation holds huge therapeutic promise, but how we are going to successfully translate this into the clinic is still being worked out? The following sessions discuss how PROTAC’s and other related approaches are innovating our thinking and breaking the translational mould. This is a valuable opportunity to hear for yourself some of the remarkable work contributing to the explosion of interest, and where we can expect to see progress being made within the industry. Plus, catch a glimpse into the next wave of emerging research being conducted by up-and-coming teams in this space.

2:50   Panel & Open Q&A: Optimization, Pharmacological Challenges, and the Translational Opportunities Facing Protein-Degrading Therapeutics

Gillian Watt, Director of Pharmacology, Protein Degradation, GSK
Michael Kim, Vice President of Business Development, C4 Therapeutics
Scott Edmondson, Director and Boston Head of Oncology Chemistry, AstraZeneca

3:35    Afternoon Refreshments & Networking
4:05  Presentation: An Overview of the dTAG System

Behnam Nabet, Research FellowDana-Farber Cancer Institute

Into the Unknown: A Look Ahead To the Future of the Industry

With exciting scientific research and pharma-biotech collaborations in the field of protein degradation increasing at an exponential rate, there will be many key learnings from this summit that need to be implemented. This final Q&A panel session will be a chance tap into the minds of the leading minds in Biotech who are trailblazing the path for protein degrading therapeutics. Use this session to finalize any genuine takeaways you’ve gained from this summit.

4:25 Closing Panel and Open Q&A: What Needs to Happen Next for Protein Degradation Therapeutics R&D?

John Houston, Chief Executive Officer, Arvinas
Sandra Glucksmann, Chief Executive Officer, Cedilla Therapeutics
Nello Mainolfi, Founder and Chief Technology Officer, Kymera Therapeutics

5:10 Chair’s Closing Remarks

Jim Winkler, Drug Discovery and Development Consultant, James D Winkler LLC, Consulting 

5:15  Close of PDT Summit 2018
Download Agenda to access full details of the event…

PDT Summit Venue

Battery Wharf Hotel, Boston Waterfront.

The summit is being held in the Battery Wharf Hotel, a luxury urban resort on the Boston Waterfront.

The main conference will take place in the harborside room, which is flooded with natural light to provide a perfect learning environment.   The venue is a ‘compound’ hotel, with plenty of meeting areas for networking outside of the main programme.

Getting to the venue could not be easier, you can even take the water taxi from Logan airport directly to the hotel dock.

Details of our exclusive delegate rates will be included in the welcome pack.



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