7th RSC / SCI symposium on GPCRs

in Medicinal Chemistry


Monday-Wednesday, 10th-12th September 2018


Aptuit, Verona, Italy








Registration is closed


Twitter hashtag - #GPCRsVerona


Downloads and Links

Third announcement

Second announcement


Coach bookings - please check this document and confirm your requirements to Maggi

Accommodation booking agency

Directions to Aptuit

Public bus-stop near Aptuit

Coach pick-up point in Verona


RSC webpage

SCI webpage



The key role of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) in human disease underpins their importance to modern medicine. We were pleased to announce that Aptuit, Italy supported the seventh meeting in this series on GPCR drug discovery, which combined cutting-edge medicinal chemistry with innovative structural biology and novel drug design approaches.


The meeting consisted of:

Clinical candidates
Case studies in GPCR drug discovery and development
New structural biology and drug design
Allosteric modulation

Also:   poster session - trade exhibition opportunities - two evening dinners and vineyard visit - accommodation agency booking service


Call for Abstracts

Applications for poster presentations were welcome. Posters were displayed throughout the meeting and applicants indicated whether they wished to be considered for a flash oral presentation when submitting an abstract (two minutes, single slide), and the flash presentation programme may be found here. The closing date was 11th July.  


The closing date for oral abstracts submissions was 2nd January.


Programme   Where presentation titles are highlighted in this colour, you may download a .pdf of the slides


Monday, 10th September


Registration and refreshments


Session chair:  Adrian Hall, UCB, Belgium


Opening remarks

Simone Braggio, SVP Discovery Alliance Management, Evotec, and

Adrian Hall, Co-chairman of the GPCRs Organising Committee


KeynoteGPCR Consortium: four years of progress in structural biology
Michael Hanson, GPCR Consortium, USA


The discovery of novel dopamine D1 positive allosteric modulators for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders

Erik Hembre, Lilly, USA


Refreshments, exhibition and posters


Ligand and sidechain mutations by FEP simulations: two sides of the same coin to determine binding modes on GPCRs
Hugo Gutiérrez de Terán, Uppsala University, Sweden


Discovery of selective Orexin-1 receptor antagonists: optimization of selectivity, pharmacokinetics and brain penetration

Brock Shireman, Janssen, USA


Lunch, exhibition and posters



Session chair:  Duncan Hay, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, UK


Trisubstituted cyclohexanes as dual antagonists of CCR2 and CCR5

Robert Cherney, BMS, USA


Discovery of potent spiroazetidine-indolinones as M1 positive allosteric modulators
Carolina Martinez Lamenca, Janssen, Belgium


Refreshments, exhibition and posters


KeynoteApplication of structure-based drug design to peptidergic GPCRs

Miles Congreve, Heptares Therapeutics, UK


Flash oral poster presentations (two-minute slots)

Flash presentation programme may be downloaded here


Application of luminescence and BRET to GPCR biology: development of new assay formats for screening and compound profiling
Gary Allenby, Aurelia Bioscience Ltd, UK


Understanding PAR2 active-state through a combined structure-based drug design and mutagenesis study
Flavio Ballante, Uppsala University, Sweden


The design, synthesis and pharmacological evaluation of highly potent and selective fluorescently-labelled A2A AR antagonists based on preladenant (SCH420814)
Eleonora Comeo, University of Nottingham, UK


Development of a high affinity, selective fluorescent ligand for CB2 receptor
Anna Cooper, University of Otago, New Zealand


Expanding the pharmacological toolbox to study chemokine receptor CXCR4 by developing fluorescent probes
Sebastian Dekkers, University of Nottingham, UK


Development of a novel biophysical fragment screening platform for detergent-free purified GPCRs
Daniel Hothersall, Domainex Ltd, UK


Optimisation of peptide linker-based fluorescent ligands for histamine H1 receptor
Zhi Yuan Kok, University of Nottingham, UK


Identification of novel MRGX2-agonists which dose-dependently activate mast cells
Helen Kühn, University Hospital Erlangen, Germany


Probing inactive states of the A2A receptor by 19F NMR
Erik Landin, University of Bristol, UK


Development of molecular tools for the study of adenosine A1 receptors
Martin Lochner, University of Bern, Switzerland


G protein specific bias in a series of CCR5 chemokine analogs
Emily Lorenzen, Rockefeller University, USA


The Salipro® system for stabilization of membrane proteins
Robin Löving, Salipro Biotech, Sweden


Novel biased agonists for immune-metabolic receptor GPR84 induce distinct responses in primary murine macrophages
Daniel Lucy, University of Oxford, UK


Structure-activity relationships of imidazothiazinones and analogs as antagonists of the cannabinoid-activated orphan G protein-coupled receptor GPR18
Andhika Mahardhika, University of Bonn, Germany


Enhancing GPCR structures with computer-assisted drug design
Juan Carlos Mobarec, Heptares Therapeutics Ltd, UK


Design, synthesis and evaluation of a diazirine photoaffinity probe for Ligand-based receptor capture targeting on GPCRs
Frederike Müskens, University of Glasgow, UK


Functional effects of biased oxyntomodulin analogues
Phil Pickford, Imperial College London, UK


Computational design of thermostabilizing point mutations for G protein-coupled receptors
Petr Popov, Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Russia


Developing PAR1 Inhibitors based on KLK4 protease for clinical translation as therapeutic anticancer agents
Eitan Rabinovich, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel


Molecular modeling studies on MOR endogenous and exogenous agonists and antagonists
Simone Ronsisvalle, University of Catania, Italy


MDPI Poster prize-winner

Development of covalent inhibitors of GRK5 for treatment of heart failure
Rachel Rowlands, University of Michigan, USA


Tag-lite, a powerful non-radioactive platform for kinetic binding
Pauline Scholler, Cisbio Bioassays, France


Summarizing and understanding SAR and activity cliffs in GPCRs
Giovanna Tedesco, Cresset, UK


Development of water-soluble prodrugs of 8-sulfonamido¬phenylxanthines – potent and selective adenosine A2B receptor antagonists
Ahmed Temirak, University of Bonn, Germany

16.28Development of fluorescent ligands to detect cannabinoid type 2 receptor (CB2)
Francesco Spinelli, Università degli Studi di Bari Aldo Moro, Italy
16.30Detection of allostery with rigidity propagation across GPCR networks
Adnan Sljoka, Kwansei Gakuin University, Japan


Poster session and drinks reception


Coaches depart Verona, a little free time


Dinner at San Matteo Church Ristorante, Verona city centre,

followed by free time



Tuesday, 11th September


Session chair:  David Miller, Inflazome, Ireland


KeynoteStructure and mechanism of human CNS GPCRs

Daniel Rosenbaum, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, USA


Mining structural GPCR-ligand interaction maps to navigate medicinal chemistry space

Chris de Graaf, Heptares Therapeutics, UK and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands


Refreshments, exhibition and posters


Disclosure of the clinical candidate BAY-840, a potent and selective hBradykinin B1 receptor antagonist for the treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases, generated within the Bayer-Evotec strategic alliance

Adam Davenport, Evotec, UK


Novel and potent spirocyclic compounds as ghrelin receptor agonists
Cristina Gardelli, AstraZeneca, Sweden


Lunch, exhibition and posters

Over the lunch break, Aptuit has kindly offered two site tours, each lasting 30 minutes.  Spaces are very limited, and Aptuit reserves the right to decline requests from certain organisations:

12.25   MedChem tour (30 minutes)

12.55   DMPK tour (30 minutes)



Session chair:  Caroline Low, Consultant, UK


Keynote:  Allosteric modulators of GPCRs: theoretical and practical considerations

Arthur Christopoulos, Monash University, Australia


Hits and misses in the application of FEP to different classes of GPCRs

Herman van Vlijmen, Janssen, Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, USA


Refreshments, exhibition and posters


Rapid identification and optimization of a novel CGRP receptor antagonist chemotype

Brendan Crowley, Merck, USA


Chemical optimization of centrally acting anti-obesity agents

Lothar Schwink, Sanofi-Aventis Deutschland, Germany




Coaches depart for evening visits


Arrive Tommasi vineyard


Travel to Villa Quaranta


Arrive Villa Quaranta, dinner


Depart Villa Quaranta


Arrive Giardini Pradaval, Verona city centre



Wednesday, 12th September


Session chair:  Fabrizio Micheli, Aptuit, Italy


Keynote:  GPCR drug design comes of age: structure drives rational design with key lessons and learnings to enhance future success
Jonathan Mason, Scientific Advisor and Heptares Therapeutics UK


Program building and chemical devalidation of GPR39 agonism as a diabetes target

Stefan Peukert, Novartis Institute of Biomedical Research, USA


Refreshments, exhibition and posters


Triazolo-pyrimidines as adenosine receptor antagonists: an overview
Stephanie Federico, Università degli Studi di Trieste, Italy


GPCR hit identification via DNA-encoded libraries and optimization towards therapeutic agents for inflammation and oncology
Andy McRiner, X-Chem Pharmaceuticals, USA


Identification of highly selective orexin 1 receptor antagonists: structure-based scaffold modifications to improve subtype selectivity and synthesis of a novel bicyclic scaffold
Radoslaw Lipinski, Boehringer Ingelheim, Germany


Lunch, exhibition and posters



Session chair:  Caroline Low, Consultant, UK


The Confobody Technology: a new platform to enable fragment screening on GPCRs
Dr Christel Menet, CSO, Confo Therapeutics, Belgium


Discovery of Balovaptan, a vasopressin 1a receptor antagonist for the treatment of autism

Patrick Schnider, Roche, Switzerland


Closing remarks

David Miller, Co-chairman of the GPCRs Organising Committee


Close and depart


Registration, Fees and Bursaries

Registration is closed.


Registration fees included Monday evening's dinner and Tuesday evening's vineyard visit and dinner.

Early rates for payments received by 5th June
£430  RSC or SCI member
£530  Non-member
£180  RSC or SCI student* member
£228  Student* non-member

Standard rates fcor payments received between 6th June and 8th August
£505  RSC or SCI member
£600  Non-member
£205  RSC or SCI student* member
£260  Student* non-member

Late rates for payments received from 9th August onwards
£40  Late payment fee to be added to the above standard rates

* Student is undergraduate or post-graduate, not post-doc, and does not apply to students in paid employment.
Member is paid-up member of the RSC or SCI.

Discounted rates were offered to RSC and SCI student members, and some student bursaries were available.  The closing date was 30th July.


Cancellation Policy

In the event of cancellation by 27th August, 80% of the registration fee paid will be refunded. Cancellations must be received in writing. Refunds will not be possible from 28th August onwards, although substitutions are possible at any time.

In the unlikely event of cancellation of the meeting, fees paid will be refunded in full. Registration acknowledgements will be sent within two weeks.


Accommodation, Dinners and Social Activities

For all accommodation requests (including last-minute bookings), we suggested using the 24-hour service provided by Verona Booking, using this weblink.


The registration fees included dinners on Monday and Tuesday evening and vineyard tour.


Monday:  Meet at Ristorante San Matteo Church for dinner (choice of pizza or pasta), dessert, drinks and networking.


Tuesday:  Coach travel from Aptuit, and visit to Tommasi Vineyard with tour and post-tour drink.  Coach to Villa Quaranta for dinner, and return coach to Verona city.


Coach bookings - please check this document and confirm your requirements to Maggi


Venue and Travel


Aptuit (an Evotec company), Via Alessandro Fleming 4, 37135 Verona, Italy, telephone +39 (0)45 821 8111.  Directions may be found here.


Distances and Journey Times by Car from Aptuit:

Verona Villafranca airport, 7.5 miles, 15-20 minutes

Verona Porta Nuova railway station, 3.5 miles, 15-20 minutes

Verona city centre, 3.5 miles, 15-20 minutes.


Coaches provided by Conference

A coach service was provided gratis between Verona city centre

(Giardini Pradaval location map) and Aptuit at the beginning and end of each day, and on a daily basis.


Transport between the Airport and Railway Station

Aerobus provides public transport between the city centre, the railway station and the airport, running every 20 minutes.  Further information may be found on this weblink and Aerobus tickets may be bought via this weblink.


Public Bus to Aptuit

Bus lines       51 and 52 (urban lines), and 148 (extra-urban line)
Direction      Sacra Famiglia / Castel d’Azzano
Bus stop        via Dell’Esperanto/Glaxo (see this map)
Website        for routes and timetable
Journey time 15-20 minutes from Verona Porta Nuova railway station, depending on traffic.

Bus-stop        plan showing location of bus-stop at Aptuit


Aptuit's preferred taxi supplier is Ready Car Service, who offer special rates when you quote “Aptuit-GPCR conference – please apply Aptuit rate”.   To book online, please use this weblink, and to book by e-mail, please use this e-mail address. 

Telephone +39 (0)45 505066

Fax            +39 (0)45 505118

Mobile       +39 (0)3497 589992 (24-hour service)


Ready Car Service rates will be quoted for each individual journey.  Public taxis may cost a little less on average, but rates may vary depending on journey time / traffic.


RadioTaxi App
Telephone     +39 (0)45 532666 (24-hour service)

Mobile           +39 (0)3403 210021
Payment         cash (Euro), or credit card payments upon request

                      at time of taxi booking


Exhibition Opportunities

The exhibition was fully booked.

Exhibition packages were available, priced at:
£1,320     Exhibition stand including one full delegate
£1,740     Exhibition stand including two full delegates

Each exhibition package included stand space measuring 3 m wide x 2 m deep (including table), electrical and wi-fi access, and full attendance at the technical programme, poster sessions, Monday evening dinner, and Tuesday evening vineyard visit and dinner.

Delegate pack inserts could be booked, charged at £200 (maximum of two sheets of A4 fixed together).


Special thanks to Aptuit and Evotec for supporting this event. Additional sponsors were welcomed.



We are grateful to the MDPI, who are our media partner.




We are grateful to EFMC and COMS for supporting this event



Papers invited for Special Issue of "Applied Sciences" (published by MDPI)

A special issue entitled “Selected Papers from 7th RSC/SCI Symposium on GPCRs in Medicinal Chemistry” is expected to select excellent papers presented at the symposium regarding the development of GPCR drug discovery.  The main goal of this Special Issue is to collect the cutting-edge scientific knowledge relevant to drug design on a wide range of GPCRs.


We invite investigators interested in this area to contribute their original research articles to this Special Issue. Potential topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Structural biology of GPCRs

  • Novel medicinal chemistry approaches in drug discovery of GPCR modulators

  • Computational method and molecular simulations in hit identification and ligand design

  • Pharmacological characterization of chemical modulators, including allosteric or biased ligands

Dr Hugo Gutiérrez de Terán
Guest Editor

Instructions for authors may be found here, and further information about manuscript submission may be found on this weblink.   The closing date for abstract submission is 31st January 2019.

Organising Committee

Adrian Hall (co-chairman), UCB
Caroline Low, Consultant
Jon Mason, Heptares
Fabrizio Micheli, Aptuit
David Miller (co-chairman), Inflazome
Sarah Skerratt, Vertex


Secretariat Contact

Maggi Churchouse, 3 East Barn, Market Weston Road, Thelnetham, Diss IP22 1JJ, UK

Telephone: +44 (0)1359 221004

E-mail:  maggi@maggichurchouseevents.co.uk 


Registration is closed