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Sat, Dec 02


CIC Cambridge, Havana Conference Room

SAPA-NE 2023 Bimonthly Seminar - November

AI/ML-aided Drug Discovery & Development Workshop

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SAPA-NE 2023 Bimonthly Seminar - November
SAPA-NE 2023 Bimonthly Seminar - November

Event Time

Dec 02, 2023, 1:30 PM – 5:30 PM EST

CIC Cambridge, Havana Conference Room, 1 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA

About the Event

SAPA-NE 2023 Bimonthly Seminar

AI/ML-aided Drug Discovery & Development Workshop

Parking and Transprtation Information (PDF)

Keynote Speaker

  • Hongming Chen, ScD, President and Head of R&D at METis Therapeutics
  • Hongming Chen, Sc.D., is the President and Head of Research & Development at METiS Therapeutics. Prior to joining METiS, Dr. Chen served as Chief Scientific Officer at Kala Pharmaceuticals, a biotech company she helped found in 2010. At Kala, she successfully translated a novel nanoparticle technology from bench discovery through Phase III clinical trials and FDA approval, and helped to attract significant investments to the company, including an initial public offering in 2017. Prior to Kala, Dr. Chen helped start and build TransForm Pharmaceuticals, which was acquired by Johnson & Johnson in 2005. Dr. Chen has also held various research positions at AstraZeneca and Merck. She is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, a Fellow of the Controlled Release Society and a member of the Academy of Distinguished Chemical Engineers at the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Chen holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from UT Austin and an M.S. and an Sc.D. in Chemical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


  • Sean Zhu, PhD, Director, Computational Chemistry, Kymera Therapeutics
  • At Kymera Therapeutics, Sean leads the Computational Design and Discovery team and oversees the development/application of novel physics-based and data-driven methods to help advance the discovery of novel and potent degrader drugs. Sean previously held position at Celgene, where he was the CADD lead in early discovery programs and computational discovery platforms. Prior to Celgene, Sean spent 4 years at Bristol-Myers Squibb leading technology development and implementation efforts that impacted multiple oncology and immuno-oncology programs including IRAK4, IDO, and STING. Sean completed his PhD with Prof. Alexander D. MacKerell, Jr, focusing on the development of the CHARMM force field to enable accurate molecular dynamic simulations of proteins and protein-ligand systems.
  • Kevin Tsai, PhD, Director Business Development, XtalPi
  • Dr. Kevin received his PhD in Computational Chemistry from the University of Maryland, with a focus on drug and biomaterial design using pH-related computational simulations. After completing his doctoral studies, Kevin joined XtalPi as the Director of Business Development, where he successfully forged strategic collaborations with public companies in Asia and the US for drug discovery initiatives. His expertise in computational chemistry and business acumen have been instrumental in driving growth and success for XtalPi in the field of drug discovery.


  • Govinda Bhisetti, PhD, Vice President and Head of Computational Chemistry at Cellarity
  • Govinda Bhisetti is a Vice President and Head of Computational Chemistry at Cellarity. Prior to joining Cellarity in 2022, Govinda worked at Biogen and Vertex in various roles for 8 and 22 years respectively.  His research at Vertex led to the discovery of three FDA approved drugs: Agenerase, Lexiva and Incivek. He is a co-inventor of these drugs and named inventor on 26 patents. He has also published 75 research papers including review articles and book chapters. Govinda got his Ph. D. from Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, and did post-doctoral work at Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla.
  • Brigid DeCoursey Bondoc, JD, Partner, Morrison Foerster
  • As a member of our FDA + Healthcare Regulatory and Compliance Group, Brigid practices across the spectrum of FDA-regulated products, including medical devices, drugs, biologics, cell and gene therapies, food, cosmetics, dietary supplements, tobacco, laboratory-developed tests, in vitro diagnostics, radiation-emitting electronic products, combination products, and products that may not fit neatly into any of these categories. Accordingly, she counsels established and start-up companies in life sciences, healthcare, and consumer products on a wide range of FDA pre- and post-market regulatory issues. Brigid also frequently advises innovative product developers on threshold FDA jurisdictional questions and develops strategies for approval and marketing, while identifying and mitigating regulatory risks.
  • Joshua A. Crawford, JD, Associate, Morrison Foerster
  • Josh has experience drafting and prosecuting patents in numerous technology areas, including network security, cloud computing, machine learning, computer vision, medical devices, laboratory and assay equipment, microfluidics devices, bioinformatics, user interfaces, and consumer electronics. In addition to patent prosecution, Josh’s practice includes preparing petitions and responses in inter partes review proceedings, as well as preparing invalidity and non-infringement positions in district court litigations.  In adversarial proceedings, Josh has worked on matters concerning network security systems, GPS technology, medical devices, and integrated circuit technologies. Josh received his J.D. with highest honors from The George Washington University Law School, where he was elected to the Order of the Coif and received the Presidential Merit Scholarship and Bobby Burchfield Scholarship. During law school, he worked at Morrison Foerster as a summer associate and as a law clerk. Josh is licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia and Virginia and is registered to practice before the USPTO.
  • Yi Zhang, PhD (moderator), Director, Medicinal Chemistry, Kymera Therapeutics
  • Yi Zhang joined Kymera Therapeutics, Watertown MA in early 2018 and currently serves as director in medicinal chemistry. In this role, she has been responsible for a wide spectrum of drug discovery activities, including novel E3 ligase ligand discovery/validation, early-stage target assessment and lead optimization towards drug candidate nomination. Prior to Kymera, Dr. Zhang worked at Syros Pharmaceuticals in Cambridge, MA as chemistry leader at beginning, later project leader on multiple drug discovery projects. Before moving to Boston, Dr. Zhang had served as medicinal chemist at GNF in San Diego for nearly 9 years. During her tenure at GNF, she was the principal designer of MHV370, currently in Phase II as potential treatment for Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and Sjorgen’s Syndrome (SjS). Dr. Zhang earned her B.S. from Fudan University and M.A. from Princeton University. She received her Ph.D degree at Harvard University with Prof. Dan Kahne, where she completed a retro-synthesis of moenomycin and a total synthesis of a Lipid II dimer (a bacterial cell wall component) and studies the mechanism of polyglycosylation, a key step for bacterial cell wall synthesis.

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