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Upcoming Webinars

Advancing Toxicology in Drug Discovery using Generative Adversarial Networks

Thursday, February 8, 2024, 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM (US EST, UTC -5)

Hosted by: The SOT Drug Discovery and Computational Toxicology Specialty Sections

Registration is required for this free webinar.

Toxicological research is undergoing a transformative shift with the incorporation of advanced computational models. Among these, Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) are emerging as a pivotal tool in addressing challenges associated with data scarcity, predictability, and the nuanced complexity of toxic responses. This webinar delves into the integration of GANs into toxicology, from their foundational principles to applications in drug discovery. Attendees will gain insights into the capabilities and potential of GANs, fostering a better understanding of their role in modern toxicological studies. This webinar will cater to both novices and experts in the intersection of toxicology and generative artificial intelligence.

Weida Tong, PhD, Director, Division of Bioinformatics and Biostatics, US FDA National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR)
Zhichao Liu, PhD, Head of Computational Toxicology, Boehringer Ingelheim

Registration is required for this free webinar.

Past Webinars

DDTSS Webinar—2022 Drug Discovery Paper of The Year

Thursday, September 14, 2023, 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM (US EDT, UTC -4)

“Characterization of an Anti-CD70 Half-Life Extended Bispecific T-Cell Engager (HLE-BiTE) and Associated On-Target Toxicity in Cynomolgus Monkeys”
Tod Harper, PhD, DABT, Nonclinical Safety Scientist, Amgen

The ‘Drug Discovery Toxicology Specialty Section (DDTSS) Paper of the Year Award’ was created to highlight a scientific achievement in the field of Discovery Toxicology. At the reception during the SOT 62nd Annual Meeting (2023), DDTSS announced the winner for 2022. This was Dr. Tod Harper and his colleagues for their paper “Characterization of an Anti-CD70 Half-Life Extended Bispecific T-Cell Engager (HLE-BiTE) and Associated On-Target Toxicity in Cynomolgus Monkeys” published in Toxicological Sciences. During this webinar, Dr. Harper and colleagues will present their work and highlight the implication of their findings to increase the chance of success in the development of CD3 bispecific molecules.

Presentation | Webinar Recording

DDTSS Webinar—ADME in Liver Disease: Increased Risk of Drug-Induced Toxicity

Friday, November 11, 2022, 3:00 PM—4:30 PM ET

Speaker: Nathan Cherrington, PhD, ATS, Associate Dean for Research, University of Arizona


It is well-known that liver diseases such as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis can cause local changes in drug transporter and drug metabolizing enzyme expression, localization, and function. However, it is much less clear how liver diseases can affect these proteins in other organs such as the kidneys. Since the kidneys also are a major organ for elimination, it is speculated that there are liver disease–induced changes in ADME proteins in this organ. As a result, liver disease may lead to increased risk of renal toxicity or other secondary organ toxicity.

Presentation | Webinar Recording

DDTSS Webinar—2022 Paper of the Year: Species-Specific Urothelial Toxicity with an Anti-HIV Noncatalytic Site Integrase Inhibitor (NCINI) Is Related to Unusual pH-Dependent Physicochemical Changes

Friday, May 13, 2022, 1:00 PM ET

Ruth Roberts, PhD, ATS, FBTS, ERT, FRSB, FRCPath, Director and Co-founder, ApconiX
Leigh Ann Burns Naas, PhD, DABT, ATS, ERT, President/Owner, Magnolia Toxicology Consulting, LLC


GS-9695 and GS-9822 are next-generation noncatalytic site integrase inhibitors (NCINIs) with significantly improved potency against human immunodeficiency virus compared with previous drugs such as BI-224436. Development stopped due to vacuolation of the bladder urothelium seen in cynomolgus monkey but not in rat; this lesion was absent in equivalent preclinical studies with BI-224436 (tested in dog and rat). Lesions were unlikely to be attributable to target because NCINIs specifically target viral integrase protein and no mammalian homologue is known. Secondary pharmacology studies, mitochondrial toxicity studies, immunophenotyping, and analysis of proteins implicated in cell-cell interactions and/or bladder integrity (E-cadherin, pan-cytokeratin, uroplakins) failed to offer any plausible explanation for the species specificity of the lesion. Because it was characterized by inflammation and disruption of urothelial morphology, we investigated physicochemical changes in the bladder of cynomolgus monkey (urinary pH 5.5–7.4) that might not occur in the bladder of rats (urinary pH 7.3–8.5). In measurements of surface activity, GS-9822 showed an unusual transition from a monolayer to a bilayer at the air/water interface with decreasing pH, attributed to the strong association between drug molecules in adjacent bilayer leaflets and expected to be highly disruptive to the urothelium. Structural analysis of GS-9822 and GS-9695 showed zwitterionic characteristics over the range of pH expected in cynomolgus monkey but not rat urine. This exotic surface behavior is unlikely with BI-224436 since it would transition from neutral to cationic (never zwitterionic) with decreasing pH. These data provide useful insights to guide discovery and development of NCINIs, related compounds, and zwitterions.

Presentation | Webinar Recording

DDTSS Webinar: 2020 Paper of the Year Presentation

Wednesday, October 27, 2021 at 1:00 PM ET

Speaker: Christine Karbowski, PhD, Principal Scientist, Amgen


Feline McDonough Sarcoma-like tyrosine kinase 3 (FLT3), a tyrosine-protein kinase involved in hematopoiesis, is detectable on the cell surface of approximately 80% of leukemia isolates from adult patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). AMG553 is an investigational chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell immunotherapy for the treatment of AML. FLT3 expression analysis and in vitro and in vivo studies were leveraged to evaluate the nonclinical safety of AMG 553. Cynomolgus monkeys administered autologous anti-FLT3 CAR T cells demonstrated no evidence of CAR T-cell-mediated toxicity, expansion, or persistence, likely due to restricted cell surface FLT3 protein expression in healthy animals. This highlights the limited value of such in vivo studies for safety assessment of the CAR T-cell modality when directed against a target with restricted expression. To complement these studies and directly evaluate the potential toxicities of eliciting T-cell-mediated cytotoxicity against cells with surface expression of FLT3 protein in vivo, data from cynomolgus monkey toxicology studies with 2 bispecific T-cell engager molecules targeting FLT3 were leveraged; findings were consistent with the targeted killing of bone marrow cells expressing cell surface FLT3. Potential AMG 553-induced cytotoxicity was assessed against a wide range of normal human primary cells and cell lines; cytotoxicity was observed against FLT3-positive AML cell lines and a percentage of primary bone marrow CD34þ cells. In conclusion, the nonclinical safety data suggest that AMG 553 can target FLT3 protein on AML cells, whereas only affecting a percentage of normal hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells, supporting clinical development.

DDTSS Webinar: Understanding Neurotoxicity Assays and Interspecies Differences to Address Attrition in Drug Discovery

Thursday, April 15, 2021 at 2:00 PM ET

Attrition in drug discovery and development due to safety/toxicity issues remains a major challenge with cardiovascular and CNS toxicities predominating. Identifying neurotoxicity in drug discovery and development can improve our efficiency and accuracy of diagnosis. While early identification of neurotoxicity will enable early intervention, utilization of non-invasive biomarkers will also facilitate clinical trials of pharmaceutical interventions for many neurodegenerative conditions. Most guidelines for the evaluation of neurotoxic effects of chemicals/drugs for hazard and risk assessment are based on in vivo studies evaluating effects mainly on neurobehavior and neuropathology that have, to a certain extent, a predictive value. Implementation of in vitro neurotoxicity tests would accelerate the rate at which compound knowledge and mechanistic data are produced, however, no in vitro approaches for evaluating the neurotoxic hazard of compounds have been formally validated to date.  First, Dr. Thomas Hartung will go over work using IPSC-derived 3D human brain organoids for neurotoxicity, drug development, and personalized medicine as well as using big data and artificial intelligence for predictive toxicology. Next, Dr. Remco Westerink will cover in vitro neurotoxicity assays with a focus on microelectrode array (MEA) recordings and discuss interspecies differences. These talks will be followed by a question and answer session.


Thomas Hartung, MD, PhD, Johns Hopkins, Professor and Doerenkamp-Zbinden Chairman for Evidence-based Toxicology

Remco Westerink, PhD, Utrecht University, The Netherlands

Intro Slides | Presentation by Thomas Hartung | Presentation by Remco Westerink | Webinar Recording

DDTSS Webinar: Insightful Tips for Career Planning

Monday, October 19, 2020 at 11:00 am EDT

Career planning is important in all stages of your career. During your journey, transitions are key times during which you can take action and decide how you want to grow and progress in your career. It is important to define your interests, build your career development plan, and be prepared for change. Every transition or change will bring other opportunities, new people, and new experiences and will represent a new challenge through which you can grow and increase your knowledge.

Lauren Celano, CEO and founder of Propel Careers
Dr. Lorna Ewart, Emulate Bio
Dr. Sucheta Mukherjee, Aligos Therapeutics, Inc.

Intro Slides | Presentation by Lauren Celano | Presentation by Lora Ewart | Presentation by Sucheta Mukherjee | Webinar Recording

CTSS and DDTSS Webinar: Artificial Intelligence in the Design of Safer Medicines—Science or Science Fiction

Thursday, June 25, 2020 11:00 am Eastern Daylight Time (New York, GMT – 4:00)

Artificial Intelligence in the Design of Safer Medicines—Science or Science Fiction?
There are strong economic drivers to reduce the costs associated with the discovery of new medicines. However, drug discovery and development are multiparameter optimization problems that require a novel medicine to have a fine balance between its efficacy, ADME properties and safety. Although the number of clinical failures from safety has been reduced in recent years, there are still improvements that could be made. Data science and artificial intelligence is a potential method to both improve the safety profile of new drugs as well as reduce the costs and time to bring these to the clinic. This talk will highlight some of the current investments in computational methods and highlight some of the key gaps in realizing these benefits.

Nigel Greene, PhD, Director, Imaging and Data Analytics, Clinical Pharmacology & Safety Sciences, AstraZeneca

Intro Slides | Webinar Recording

DDTSS Webinar: Nonclinical Safety Strategies for Gene Therapy

Tuesday, February 25, 2020 11:00 am Eastern Standard Time (New York, GMT–05:00)

Gene therapy has been a hot topic these recent years, with the first approvals allowing patients to be successfully treated. This increased interest in gene therapy resulted in a lot of potential therapies in preclinical and clinical development.

This webinar will cover the basis of what gene therapy is and the main toxicology concerns and considerations that need to be investigated when developing a nonclinical safety package.

Timothy Maclachlan, Executive Director, PCS TA Head, New Indications Discovery Unit, Novartis
Kelly Flagella, Executive Director Toxicology at Ultragenix

DDTSS Webinar: Lead Optimization Drug Safety Strategies for Small Molecules

Monday, October 29, 2018 at 11 am Eastern Daylight Time (New York, GMT–04:00)

Panelists, Zoe Zhong, PhD, DABT (Associate Director, Head of Small Molecule Discovery Toxicology at Genentech) and Mark Fielden, PhD, DABT (Scientific Director, Comparative Biology and Safety Sciences at Amgen), will provide insights on lead optimization strategies to increase selectivity, minimize off-target effects, and integrate assessments of in vitro and in vivo toxicology studies for rapid identification of clinical candidates. The intended audience is scientists across all career stages interested in deepening their knowledge of drug discovery.

Presentation by Zoe Zhong | Presentation by Mark Fielden | Webinar Recording

DDTSS Webinar: Careers and Opportunities in Pharmaceutical Discovery Toxicology

Wednesday, April 5, 2017 11:00 am Eastern Daylight Time (New York, GMT–04:00)

This unique 90-minute webinar comprises two distinct presentations in which experts will discuss career development in the pharmaceutical drug discovery space.

Presentation by Dolo Diaz | Presentation by Brandon Jeffy | Webinar Recording

Specific topics each speaker will discuss include:

Personal experience and career path development (how did they get here?)
How does discovery tox function at your current place of employment (e.g. startup biotech vs. larger pharma)?
What skills did you learn in grad school/postdoc that you could apply to your position in drug discovery?
How did those skills and responsibilities change over time with varying levels of experience e.g. from starting at a junior position to increasing responsibilities, what did career progression look like (designing/running studies, sitting on project teams, portfolio oversight etc.)?
Any sort of anecdotes/personal experiences to illustrate variety of paths and career progression in drug discovery tox?
Comments/examples on “I vs. we” approach or comparison of individual role vs. team responsibilities in pharmaceutical industry.

We plan on a 5 minute intro from our president Ray Kemper, followed by a 20–25 minute presentation from each of the 2 speakers, with time for questions at the end.

DDTSS Webinar: Safety Assessment in a World of Expanding Immuno-oncology Approaches

Tuesday, January 24, 2017 11:00 am Eastern Standard Time (New York, GMT–05:00)

No Recording is available for this Webinar.

This unique 90-minute webinar comprises three distinct presentations in which experts will discuss safety assessment in the growing field of immuno-oncology research.


Nonclinical Safety Assessment of Checkpoint Inhibitors and Costimulatory Agonists
The harnessing of the immune system to fight cancer is becoming a reality with the approval of several therapeutics that are transforming the way cancer is being treated. This presentation will discuss key considerations and challenges in the nonclinical safety assessment of checkpoint inhibitors and costimulatory agonistic monoclonal antibodies and approaches to enhance the value of preclinical models by incorporating biomarkers of immune activation to help understand the relevance of the model, immunologic activities and toxicities, and define the clinical stating dose.

Evolution of Safety Assessment for T Cell-Dependent Bispecific Molecules
The advent of molecules that redirect the T cell killing machinery to tumors has expanded the cancer immunotherapy repertoire. These molecules are highly potent and rapidly activate T cells upon antigen recognition. As a result the nonclinical safety assessment of T cell engaging bispecific molecules has had to evolve from the traditional approach. This webinar will discuss some of the novel challenges and strategies taken in the nonclinical safety assessment of T cell engaging bispecific molecules.

Safety Assessment of Immune Cell-Based Therapies for Immuno-Oncology
Evasion of immune surveillance represents a major mechanism limiting the effectiveness of traditional therapies against tumor cells. An increasing number of approaches designed to stimulate or directly utilize the immune system in overcoming this limitation are currently undergoing preclinical and clinical testing, including immunotherapies utilizing auto reactive effector cells. One significant factor potentially limiting the widespread use of T cell therapies for a variety of cancer types includes the expression of target antigens on cancer cells as well as on other normal, and essential, tissues. This presentation will review the field of adoptive T cell therapies as well as current thinking concerning nonclinical safety assessment approaches for such therapies.