Learn more about our Scientific Tracks

Day 1 - 18th October 

Find out our Scientific Track themes for Day 1

Are you an undergraduate, postgraduate, post-doctoral and other early career professionals in science looking to learn more about the future of drug discovery?  Then check out the ELRIG Learning Zone on Day 1 and Day 2 at Drug Discovery to kick start your career with our Early Career Professionals (ECP) sessions. 

Track 1 - Auditorium 1 


Cellular technologies encompass a wide range of critical tools used throughout the drug discovery process. Continued drive from industry and academia to strive for increasingly complex cellular microenvironments to better mimic in vivo conditions has led to rapid advancement in the use of 3D cell culture models, stem cells and functional genomics techniques to supplement more traditional recombinant cellular-based approaches. This session highlights innovative approaches taken by researchers using cellular technologies as a powerful tool to understand disease mechanism, identify novel targets and asses potential drug candidates.

 Track Chairs: Charlotte Beaver (Wellcome Sanger Institute) & Sapna Desai (GSK)

 Track 2 - Auditorium 2  

Supported by Cancer Research Horizons
The oncology therapeutic landscape has been transformed in recent years through the advent of immunotherapy, which has in turn catalysed investment into new and diverse drug discovery approaches. These range from innovative target discovery through bioinformatic analysis of clinical datasets through to significant advances in medicinal chemistry that have brought previously "undruggable" targets into focus. Creative and flexible partnerships with the biotech and pharma industries are also playing a critical role in progressing novel medicines into the clinical setting. This session will showcase cutting edge insights into these exciting areas. 

Track Chair: Stuart Farrow (Cancer Research Horizons) & Emma Carswell (Cancer Research Horizons)

Track 3 - Auditorium 3


Chemistry makes a pivotal and essential contribution to the delivery of a diverse range of novel human therapeutics and modalities.  These diverse contributions are underpinned by a wider diversity, from the range of specialisms engaged, the scope of methodologies employed, and the skills, experiences and backgrounds of the practitioners involved. This session aims to celebrate some aspects of that diversity, showcasing forefront science from across the chemical community. 

Track Chairs: Allan Jordan (Sygnature Discovery) & Beth Thomas (Storm Therapeutics)

Track 4 - Auditorium 4


Advances in technology means that we generate much more data about biological systems and the complexities of disease as we search for new medicines. It is becoming increasingly clear that not only do we need teams and communities of expert scientists, but enhanced data analytic tools to support those scientists in extracting knowledge from data that can be used guide research. This track will explore how AI can be used to augment the R&D process and address challenges in target discovery, drug design and product development. 

Track Chairs: Lee Larcombe (APEXOMIC) & Charlotte Dean (University of Oxford)

Track 5 - ELRIG's Tech Theatre


Supported by SiLA

Supporting Collaborative Science
 How using the right tools enables scientists to discover better drugs faster.

Robotics and Automation remain essential technologies to accelerate science. The multiwell plate format has served us well and recent advances enable scientists to take automation to new levels. At the same time data has only become more important to organisations as well as to scientists, calling for an infrastructure and tools we can rely upon. This session, co-organised with SiLA, aims to be both inspiring and applicable by bringing together some of the latest thinking and practice in the automation of chemistry and biology. The format will be 3 short talks followed by a moderated panel with time given over to audience exchange. 

Track Chairs: Patrick Courtney (SiLA), Burkhard Schaefer (Splashlake) & Lorna Suckling (GSK)

Track  6 - The Viewing Terrace

Drug development and drug repurposing

Strategies for Enhancing Success Rates

Supported by British Pharmacological Society &  UK Pharmacogenomics & Stratified Medicine Network 

Drug discovery and development is a risky and costly business. The overall failure rate is >96%, and the estimated cost of bringing one drug to market is ~$1.3 billion.  Newer approaches such as artificial intelligence and proteogenomics can improve success rates, both for new drug development and for drug repurposing.  This symposium will look at the technologies which are being used by industry and academia to improve success rates and identify new drug repurposing opportunities. The symposium is hosted jointly by the British Pharmacological Society and the UK Pharmacogenomics & Stratified Medicines Network.

Track Chair:  Professor Sir Munir Pirmohamed (University of Liverpool, UK Pharmacogenomics & Stratified Medicines Network)

Day 2 - 19th October 

Find out our Scientific Track themes for Day 2

Track 7 - Auditorium 1


Supported by SLAS

The identification of high quality, well validated hit compounds is a crucial step in in giving a drug discovery project the best change of producing a successful medicine. The design of screening campaigns and the technologies selected are important factors in the success of these hit identification activities and are the focus of this session. In this track you will hear about different techniques that can be applied to identify biologically active hit molecules and on recent innovations in this area. The presented methods will range from fragment based and DNA-encoded libraries to high throughput screening approaches. 

Track Chairs: Carien Dekker (Novartis) & Magda Otrocka (Ardigen)

Track 8 - Auditorium 2


The global need for effective medicines is increasing, whilst the biology underlying new drug concepts is becoming increasingly complex, so this session will outline some of the most exciting technology advancements and approaches that have led to new therapeutics to the clinic. The speakers will discuss what made the crucial difference but also the challenges they faced along the way. This will include successes in; AI, bifunctionals, microbiome, repurposing, gene editing and more.

Track Chairs: Hitesh Sanganee (AstraZeneca & Nicky Cooper (River BioMedics)

Track 9 - Auditorium 3


Over the years, as more and more biologics are approved (over 150 at the last count), the global market for this class of medicines is expected to be over 200 billion USD. This impact has largely been driven by recent advances in the power of antibody engineering allowing significant improvements in the efficacy and utility of biopharma molecules. In this track, we will provide an overview of the complex and exciting world of biopharmaceutical drug discovery and survey the current state of the art of selection processes, screening and developability. 

Track Chairs: Francisca Wollerton (AZ), Ed Coulstock (GSK)

Track 10 - Auditorium 4


Supported by Royal Society of Chemistry

Throughout the drug discovery process, chemistry is essential in identifying potential drug candidates, optimizing their properties, and developing effective and safe molecules to treat diseases. In this track we will hear about the impact of chemistry across all stages of drug development, from the importance of building a suitable screening deck, to the impact of synthetic methodology across the process.  We explore the interface between chemistry and biology and the impact of computational chemistry. This session is hosted by the Biological and Medicinal Chemistry Sector (BMCS) and RSC Medicinal Chemistry. The BMCS is a member-driven interest group of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) which aims to further the interests of all members of the RSC, both industrial and academic, involved in the pursuit and understanding of biologically active molecules. 

Track Chairs: Becky Garton (RSC), A. Ganesan (Uni of East Anglia), Mary Wheldon (Uni of Dundee), Martin Swarbrick (Ryvu Therapeutics) & Andy Merritt (LifeArc), Katie Lim (RSC)

Track 11 - ELRIG's Tech Theatre  



The life sciences industry improves global health through the development and distribution of medicines, but also creates significant environmental impact. The long-term health of our planet relies on the application of innovative, sustainable scientific practices that can be applied across the drug discovery process. Through presentations, panel discussions and ECP poster highlights, this engaging and interactive sustainability track will explore principles and practice's that can be embedded across drug development.

Track Chairs: Kelly Gray (AstraZeneca) & James Connelly (My Green Lab)

ELRIG's Learning Zone


The Learning Zone is a dedicated space for our Early Career Professionals – we are holding several events throughout the conference, on Day 1 & Day 2, specifically for this community, including our infamous ‘Network Like A Boss’ speed networking, and flash poster presentations. 

If it’s your first big conference (or you like pastries!) be sure to come along to our morning Meet & Greet sessions from 8am to meet with the ELRIG ECP workgroup and your fellow delegates – tea, coffee, and pastries are all provided. Our recruitment partners are holding a meet and greet, so there is ample opportunity to interact with them and help springboard the next stage of your career. 

This curated area sits at the heart of Drug Discovery 2023 and is sure to be the focal point for any ECP in attendance. 

Track Chair: Mark Soave


ELRIG is a not-for-profit organisation serving the life science & drug discovery communities.