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Arizona Center for Drug Discovery to Host Virtual Spring Summit

The Virtual Spring Summit will highlight examples of how academic research is contributing to the drug discovery ecosystem.
Arizona Center for Drug Discovery Co-Directors, from left, Wei Wang, PhD, and Celina Zerbinatti, PhD, along with College of Pharmacy Dean Rick G. Schnellmann, PhD.

Arizona Center for Drug Discovery to Host Virtual Spring Summit

The Arizona Center for Drug Discovery (ACDD) will host its annual Spring Summit virtually on Tuesday, March 30.  

The event, which is free and open to the public, will feature a unique lineup of professionals from across a variety of health care and research disciplines highlighting key innovations taking place within the academic drug discovery environment. Registration is required to attend.  

“We are thrilled to bring together an exciting summit with leading University of Arizona and external scientists who have successfully transitioned academic innovations into the broader drug discovery ecosystem,” said Celina Zerbinatti, PhD, co-director of the ACDD. “It is a great opportunity for attendees to learn more about this process and get inspired to explore the prospects of working with the Arizona Center for Drug Discovery to translate their own biomedical innovations at the university.”

The Arizona Center for Drug Discovery was established in October 2018 with the goal of connecting researchers at the University of Arizona in Tucson and Phoenix with pharmaceutical partners to advance drug discovery throughout the state. The center has created the necessary infrastructure to establish a collaborative environment and advance novel disease intervention findings beyond the laboratory setting. With the recent renovation and expansion of the Skaggs Pharmaceutical Sciences Center, ACDD researchers now have access to permanent assay development and medicinal chemistry laboratory space, one of the many resources the center provides.  

Over the years, the University of Arizona Health Sciences has seen several successful drug discovery spin-offs. Examples include DesertRx, a molecular diagnostic company, Reglagene, a company that discovers new medicines to fight cancer, and Regulonix, which develops non-opioid drugs to treat chronic pain.  

“The goal of the summit aligns well with the mission of the center, which is to serve as a resource for drug discovery researchers and to catalyze potential new treatment options through strategic collaborations,” said Wei Wang, PhD, co-director of the ACDD. “We are happy to have speakers joining us who are the eminent scholars in their field with extensive expertise in drug discovery.”

Summit Speakers include:

  • Rajesh Khanna, PhD, Professor of Pharmacology, UArizona College of Medicine – Tucson; BIO5 Institute member; Chief Scientific Officer, Regulonix LLC 
  • Brian Blagg, PhD, Director, Warren Family Research Center, Drug Discovery and Development; Charles Huisking Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Notre Dame
  • Stephen Munk, PhD, Deputy Director, Biodesign Institute, Arizona State University 
  • A. Stewart Campbell, PhD, Senior Vice President, Research and Development, Axial Therapeutics 
  • Travis Dunckley, PhD, Assistant Research Professor, ASU-Banner Neurodegenerative Disease Research Center
  • Barbara Slusher, MAS, PhD, Professor of Neurology, Psychiatry, Pharmacology, Neuroscience, Medicine, Oncology; Director, Johns Hopkins Drug Discovery
  • Victor Hruby, PhD, Regents Professor Emeritus of Chemistry and Biochemistry, UArizona College of Science and College of Medicine – Tucson
  • Eric Reiman, MD, Executive Director, Banner Alzheimer’s Institute, and CEO, Banner Research
  • Cindy Miranti, PhD, Professor of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, UArizona College of Medicine – Tucson; BIO5 Institute member

Register to attend online