+1.212.901.8009 sclassen@alzdiscovery.org

An Educational Course on Translating Research into Drugs
Presented by the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation
February 12-14, 2017 • San Diego, CA

At a Glance

This didactic conference will educate scientists on the processes of translating basic research into novel therapies and will leave participants with a strong knowledge base and relevant resources to address the associated barriers and challenges in developing a drug.

The programs will also highlight case studies of small molecule and biologics programs at different stages of development aimed at tackling challenging CNS targets relevant to neurodegenerative diseases.


This conference will provide participants with fundamental knowledge and resources on developing new drugs to treat and prevent neurodegenerative diseases, and will address the challenges associated with the following sub-topics:

(1) Embarking on a Drug Discovery Campaign;

(2) Starting at the End: The Pharmacology-Chemistry Interface in Preclinical Drug Development;

(3) Drug Discovery: From Lead to Clinical Candidate;

(4) Strategies for CNS Targets: Case Study Examples; and

(5) Commercialization Strategies: Developing Science into Products.

Discussions will include relevant examples focused on small molecule and biologic development for Alzheimer’s and related neurodegenerative diseases. Sessions will consist of 30 minute presentations with ample time for Q&A, and the program will include sessions for networking, partnering/mentoring, and posters presented by young investigators.


  1. Train a cadre of interdisciplinary scientists in the principles of drug discovery for neurodegenerative disease.
  2. Provide a platform to exchange ideas, knowledge and resources about drug discovery for neurodegenerative disease.
  3. Stimulate pre-clinical research in the discovery and testing of novel compounds aimed at the prevention and treatment of neurodegenerative disease.
  4. Build public-private partnerships that will accelerate drug discovery for neurodegenerative disease.


  1. Challenges and opportunities in academic drug discovery
  2. Fundamentals of medicinal chemistry relevant to drug discovery for neurodegenerative diseases
  3. Newest trends in assay development and high throughput screening (HTS)
  4. Go-no-go criteria for preclinical development, including pharmacokinetic behavior of candidate compounds, aqueous solubility, blood-brain barrier permeability, preliminary safety, and manufacturing issues
  5. Study design considerations for animal model experiments
  6. Biologics for challenging CNS targets and strategies to optimize brain delivery
  7. Requirements for an Investigational New Drug (IND) application
  8. Commercialization strategies for developing science into products
  9. Best practices for working with tech transfer offices, managing intellectual property, and the role of funding organizations
  10. Funding & resources for preclinical therapeutics development for neurological disorders


Thirty ADDF Young Investigator Scholarships will be presented, each providing:

  • A single registration to attend the conference
  • Opportunity to present a poster at the conference
  • Name recognition in the program and on the conference website

AWARDS—Five Young Investigator Scholarship recipients will also be selected to receive an Outstanding Young Investigator Award, which provides hotel accommodations.  Read more










Delegates at the Annual Drug Discovery for Neurodegeneration Conference are drawn from academia, industry, associations/societies, government and media.

The event attracts about 150-170 attendees allowing for a higher degree of interactivity and networking. The target audience consists mainly of:

  • Academic and industry scientists engaged in drug discovery research for neurodegenerative disease or CNS
  • Business development and licensing professionals
  • Alliance management professionals
  • Young investigators and graduate students


2016 Conference Rating by Attendees

  • Excellent 76%
  • Very Good 24%
  • Fair 0%
  • Poor 0%
  • Failed 0%


Sessions are video recorded, then synchronized with slide presentations. Review these here.



Use @TheADDF and #CNSDrugCourse


fillit 2013Howard Fillit, MD, a geriatrician, neuroscientist and a leading expert in Alzheimer’s disease, is the founding Executive Director of the Institute for the Study of Aging (ISOA), an Estée Lauder family foundation founded in 1998, and the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF), an affiliated public charity founded in 2004.  ISOA and ADDF share a common mission of accelerating drug discovery for Alzheimer’s disease through venture philanthropy. Dr. Fillit has had a distinguished academic medical career at The Rockefeller University and The Mount Sinai School of Medicine where he is a clinical professor of geriatrics and medicine and professor of neurobiology. He was previously the Corporate Medical Director for Medicare at New York Life, responsible for over 125,000 Medicare managed care members in five regional markets. He is the author or co-author of more than 250 scientific and clinical publications, and is the senior editor of the leading international Textbook of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology. Dr. Fillit has received several awards and honors including the Rita Hayworth Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Alzheimer’s Association. He also serves as a consultant to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, health care organizations and philanthropies.


Kurt Brunden, PhD, University of Pennsylvania

Howard Fillit, MD, ADDF

Lauren Friedman, PhD, ADDF

Marcie Glicksman, PhD, Orig3n

Andrew Koemeter-Cox, PhD, ADDF

Frank Longo, MD, PhD, Stanford University

Suzana Petanceska, PhD, National Institute on Aging

Diana Shineman, PhD, ADDF

Edward Spack, PhD, Vector BioSolutions

D. Martin Watterson, PhD, Northwestern University

Excellent meeting! Very informative for an academic like me to learn more about the process of drug discovery. Very interesting talks pitched at the right level. Really liked how days one and two laid out the issues associated with drug discovery and day 3 presented case studies. Very eye-opening!

Attendee at the 2013 Conference

I really enjoyed the multiple opportunities for socializing. I was able to hear the informal stories of some of the projects and then later hear the full technical presentation. And then I had opportunity for further conversation. Very nice.

Attendee at the 2014 conference

Great size meeting with a balanced representation of academia, industry, and non-profit sectors. Lots of opportunity for networking in smaller settings and senior people are happy to approach trainees, which initiated some great discussions and opened opportunities for future collaboration/ career opportunities. The course-like format also offered a lot of novel, relevant and up-to-date info for trainees from various backgrounds.

Attendee at the 2016 Conference

2016 Attendee Market Distribution

2016 Attendee decision to attend driven by an interesting program

2016 Attendee participation helped anchor or foster new partnerships

2016 Attendee Academic Distribution

  • Academia 54%
  • Pharma 26%
  • Association/Foundation (Non-Profit) 10%
  • Start-up Biotech 8%
  • Government 2%



  • PhD 80%
  • MD 12%
  • PharmD 2%
  • Other (MBA, JD, etc.) 6%