Webinar 3: Building bridges along the psychiatric drug discovery pipeline

BNA Event - 22nd Feb 2022

Webinar 3: Building bridges along the psychiatric drug discovery pipeline – the academic perspective of the challenges of drug discovery  

Tuesday 22nd February, 1-2pm (GMT) 

The academic perspective of the challenges of drug discovery and positive solutions to overcome them 

Host organisations: BNA, Psychiatry Consortium and British Pharmacological Society  
Co-chairs: Sam Groom (BPS), Farideh Javid (BPS)
John Davis (University of Oxford)
Robert Drake (University of Bristol)

Sam Groom (University of Bath / British Pharmcological Society) - co-chair

Sam Groom is a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Bath, UK. His work focusses on the neuropharmacology of G protein-coupled receptors, particularly the mu opioid receptor. Sam recently completed his PhD at the University of Bath, which was supported by an AJ Clark Studentship awarded by the British Pharmacological Society.



Farideh Javid (University of Huddersfield / British Pharmcological Society) - co-chair

Dr Javid is currently a Reader in Pharmacology in Department of Pharmacy at the University of Huddersfield in the United Kingdom. Her current research is focused on Cancer Pharmacology. She is interested in identifying novel treatments for cancer patients and investigating the mechanism of action of old and new drugs originated from both the synthetic and natural sources such as cannabinoids. She has had PhD and Master students who worked on variety of cancers. She has collaboration with clinicians at the NHS hospitals and scientists at national and international levels. She is am a member of two Committees at British Pharmacological Society (BPS) and the UK representative at European Association of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapy (EACPT). She has experience in working with pharmaceutical companies such as GSK, GW Pharmaceuticals and Nutraceuticals.  

John Davis (University of Oxford)

John Davis is CSO for the Centre for Medicines Discovery, at the University of Oxford, and Director of Business Development for the Alzheimer’s Research UK Drug Discovery Alliance.  John is a biochemist with a PhD from the University of Cambridge, postdoctoral training carried out at the Ludwig Institute (Middlesex Branch) and an EMBO fellowship at The Salk Institute. John joined SmithKline Beecham in 1993 as part of the establishment of a neurology research unit within the company and, following the merger to form GlaxoSmithKline, led non-clinical pharmacology research departments for pain and neurodegenerative diseases.  In 2010 John co-founded Convergence Pharmaceuticals, which was subsequently acquired by Biogen, and has since co-founded a further three start-up companies. In 2015 he joined the University of Oxford to set up and lead the ARUK Oxford Drug Discovery Institute. The institute has developed a portfolio of early drug discovery programmes for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, with an emphasis on genetically validated targets, and has leveraged over 100% of additional funding through industrial partnerships.  John has 25+ years of drug discovery expertise from target to phase IIa and has helped steer a dozen drug candidates into development and to four positive Phase II PoCs. 

Robert Drake (University of Bristol)

Why do some individuals suffer long term pain while others don't?

I am interested in neurophysiological mechanism that impart vulnerability to develop chronic pain conditions. One potentially important factor is the correct functioning of endogenous pain modulatory circuits that link the brain and spinal cord to powerfully affect pain processing. Currently, I am investigating the causal link between injury induced brain network reorganisation and the development of the pain state in pre-clinical animal models of persistent pain. I try to take findings from clinical studies in human patients (e.g. fMRI studies) and investigate 1 - whether the pre-clinical models are able to recreate these features and 2 - how they causally relate to sensory, affective and cognitive disturbances that develop following injury. 

Click here to register for other webinars in this series

Overview of the webinar series 

Psychiatric drug discovery must be a truly collaborative process if it is to be successful. All too often industry and academia work exclusively, developing transformative work in isolation of each other and only building alliances at a later stage when necessary. Cross-disciplinary partnerships cultivated earlier in the process can take a project in a whole new direction, for the benefit of those working on the science, for the patient and the investor.  

We believe the challenges facing psychiatric research require the insights and involvement of individuals across all aspects of the research landscape. People with lived experience of mental health, academic researchers, clinicians, regulators and industry scientists to name a few, must all be involved in the development of solutions if we are to overcome the hurdles to psychiatric drug development. 

This series of free webinars will highlight the challenges and opportunities at key stages in the translational pipeline, from identifying the unmet patient need, undertaking the basic research required to understand the disease biology to developing novel treatments. At each stage, we will hear from experts who will give their perspectives on what we can do to support each other along this process.  

Webinar 1: Building bridges along the psychiatric drug discovery pipeline – challenges and opportunities for collaborative partnerships 

Tuesday 9th November, 1-2pm (GMT) 

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Webinar 2: Building bridges along the psychiatric drug discovery pipeline – understanding and prioritising patient unmet need 

Tuesday 23rd November, 1-2pm (GMT) 

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Webinar 4: Building bridges along the psychiatric drug discovery pipeline – the industry perspective of the challenges of drug discovery

Tuesday 8th March, 1-2pm (GMT) 

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Webinar 5: Building bridges along the psychiatric drug discovery pipeline – solutions of how to work together

Tuesday 22nd March, 1-2pm (GMT) 

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Click here for more information about the webinar series.

The webinar series is sponsored by the Psychiatry Consortium and supported by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation. Support for the BNA's work is gratefully acknowledged; see more about supporting the BNA here.

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