Northwestern Events Calendar


Stage-Gates in Drug Discovery

recurring see all events in this series

When: Friday, February 12, 2021
10:00 AM - 10:45 AM CT

Where: Online
Webcast Link

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Sonia Kim   (847) 467-0446

Group: Innovation and New Ventures Office

Category: Training


Please join us for a presentation during which Jim Audia (Audia Consulting and Third Rock Ventures) will introduce and provide insights into the stages of pre-clinical drug discovery, picking up from earlier presentations on target identification and validation, and focusing primarily on the discovery stages of Hit Identification, Hit-to-Lead and Lead Optimization, with lesser discussion on Candidate Selection and IND-Enabling Studies. Leveraging experience across multiple drug discovery campaigns, Dr. Audia will highlight the importance of stage-gate criteria for progression from one discovery stage to the next. It will describe the development and utilization of a compound testing scheme to drive the ongoing validation of the program as well as the continued optimization of the compound to identify and characterize high quality hits, leads and ultimately clinically competent development candidates. From a medicinal chemistry perspective the presentation will also discuss the importance of a connected assay scheme to drive the optimization of chemical matter based upon a multi-dimensional SAR.

This seminar is part of the INVOForward Therapeutics lecture series focused on helping Northwestern researchers gain insight into how to build a compelling therapeutic data package. While the INVOForward mentorship program has four select faculty-led teams participating, the lectures are open to Northwestern Faculty, Post-docs and Students.

Other INVOForward lectures may be found here.



Jim Audia, PhD

Since September 2019, Dr. James E (Jim) Audia has served as President of Audia Consulting, LLC, through which he engages the biotech community to help enable and advance their drug discovery programs and portfolios. Since November 2019, Jim has been a part-time Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Third Rock Ventures, engaged in company formation for a pair of newcos (including Faze Medicines, launched December 2020) and advising the broader small molecule-focused platform and portfolio company efforts. He is also Senior Advisor and Head of Medicinal Chemistry for Karuna Therapeutics, helping to advance their pre-clinical and discovery programs. From July 2017-October 2019 he served as Executive Director of the Chicago Biomedical Consortium, a collaborative effort of Northwestern University, The University of Chicago and The University of Illinois-Chicago, focused on enhancing biomedical innovation in the greater Chicago area. He joined the CBC after a nearly seven-year tenure as Constellation Pharmaceuticals’ chief scientific officer, where he oversaw the successful evolution of the company’s R&D efforts from a strong scientific base to a robust portfolio of clinical-stage assets and pre-clinical programs, including the BET bromodomain inhibitor CPI-0610 now in Phase 3 and a pair of clinically advanced EZH2 inhibitors. Dr. Audia had joined Constellation in January 2011 following a highly productive career in drug discovery at Eli Lilly and Company. He held several key leadership roles during his 23-year tenure at Lilly. As a Distinguished Lilly Scholar, the highest level of the company’s scientific ladder, he made seminal technical and strategic contributions to the Lilly drug pipeline. Over the course of his career, Dr. Audia’s scientific work has contributed to 18 clinical development candidates, including transformative contributions to neuroscience research through his discovery of both the first gamma secretase inhibitor, an industry-leading beta secretase inhibitor and a recently approved anti-migraine agent (Lasmitidan). Dr. Audia is a named inventor on more than 110 issued U.S. patents and has published and presented extensively. He received his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of South Carolina and completed postdoctoral training at Yale University before joining Lilly. Dr. Audia currently serves as a board member for Constellation Pharmaceuticals, a board member and scientific advisor for Ribon Therapeutics, a scientific advisor for the Tau Consortium of the Rainwater Foundation and for the Alzheimer’s Association, consults for Nura Bio and Rheos Medicines and is a visiting scholar at Northwestern University.


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